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FIBA World Cup: 3 Reasons why NBA stars opting out of the tournament is justified

Achyut Dubey
ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
306   //    18 Aug 2019, 11:56 IST

Changing the qualifying system pushed the WC to 2019 - instead of 2018.
Changing the qualifying system pushed the WC to 2019 - instead of 2018.

LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Kawhi Leonard, James Harden, Zion Williamson, Anthony Davis, Kyrie Irving and Damian Lillard make up just the prominent names in a fairly lengthy list of players from the States who have opted out of the upcoming FIBA attraction. The most recent shock withdrawal came from De'Aaron Fox - who was being considered a pivotal element of the almost-built USA roster.

The reasons for such an anomaly are multi-dimensional. Change in FIBA's schedule meant that their World Cup would take place in 2019, which is just one year before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. To any player who'd be willing to participate in both, it would mean risking two NBA seasons in a row. After all, when viewed from a hardcore NBA perspective, the FIBA World Cup appears as nothing more than a glorified exhibition tournament.

Despite housing major talents like Kemba Walker, Kyle Kuzma, Donovan Mitchell, the current lineup is still far removed from the best that the NBA could offer. However, the Popovich-led squad might not look like the ultra-confident world-dominant USA team, but they remain front-runners to lift the trophy.

Let's take a look at a few possible explanations as to why players are reluctant to commit.


#1 Injuries could have an everlasting effect on their NBA future

To undergo an injury even before the season starts, is a whole new level of pain.
To undergo an injury even before the season starts, is a whole new level of pain.

During the lead-up to the last World Cup, Paul George ran back on defense and ended up landing awkwardly against the stanchion, leading to a compound leg fracture. Eventually, the scrimmage cost him the entire season and is still one of the most gruesome injuries ever to happen to any NBA player.

He did recover fully to become an MVP-caliber talent but what happened to George was a clear example of the repercussions that come with risking your body by playing additional games.

It is heartbreaking when a player misses time due to an injury during a season and it gets far more painful when the same happens due to an unfortunate mishap in a non-NBA event. No player would ever want to become even remotely susceptible to that situation.

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