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No Kawhi? Team USA Basketball Faces Olympic Challenge Without Leonard

Daniel Kim Views  

Yonhap News

The U.S. Basketball Association announced that the anticipated combination of LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Kawhi Leonard will not be featured at the Paris Olympics. Despite Leonard’s rigorous training in Las Vegas over the past few weeks, he has prioritized preparing for the upcoming NBA season rather than participating in the Olympic games.

Leonard had been out for an extended period due to a right knee injury towards the end of the 2023-2024 season. He seems to have focused on preparing for the next season rather than risking exacerbating his injury by participating in the Olympics. As a result, the much-anticipated LeBron-Durant-Kawhi combination will not be seen. The legendary trio of small forwards consists of LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Kawhi Leonard. Basketball fans had been excited about the prospect of LeBron, who can also lead, Durant, the “scoring machine,” and Leonard, the “defensive master,” playing on the same team. Derrick White, who contributed to the Boston Celtics’ 2023-2024 season championship, was selected as Leonard’s replacement. Unlike Leonard, White is a guard, but he has excellent defensive skills like Leonard.

Moreover, he and U.S. basketball team guard Jrue Holiday are close, having played together in Boston. Holiday and White can disrupt the opponent’s formation with their exceptional defensive skills when the starters are out. Despite Leonard’s absence, the USA basketball team is still the most powerful championship contender with a dream team lineup. The team includes stars like LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Joel Embiid, Jayson Tatum, and Anthony Davis. However, Leonard’s absence, a key player in both offense and defense, is a significant loss.

Daniel Kim
content@viewusglobal.com

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