Kevin Durant explains why U.S. lost two exhibition games
Brooklyn Nets power forward Kevin Durant. Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Team USA is facing serious questions after losing two exhibition games during its Olympic preparation. As far as one of the team’s stars is concerned, there’s nothing to worry about.

Kevin Durant says the “stars were kind of aligned” for Team USA to struggle during its early exhibitions, citing the fact that the team was still learning how to play together.

“We’re a team that’s still coming together and trying to find our identity,” Durant told Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. “We have so many great players that you can play so many different ways, and we are indecisive at times on defense and offense. In the midst of us figuring it out, these teams are established and they’re running their sets. We’re working on our sets. The stars were kind of aligned for us to lose early on.”

Durant pushed back against the narrative that the lack of preparation shouldn’t matter because of Team USA’s overwhelming talent advantage. Durant said other countries have NBA players who are comfortable in their current roles.

“If you’re looking for NBA talent, those teams have it,” Durant said. “Understand where we’re at as a team and then you can make assumptions for yourself. We do have all the best players in the league, but these national teams have NBA players, too, who are now No. 1 options and they’re used to playing that role internationally. We’re still adjusting as a team, and that’s not making excuses. There’s a lot of context people need to understand. We didn’t expect to lose a game, but losing games happen. We’ll get it right.”

Team USA lost to Nigeria and Australia before rebounding to beat Argentina. They also lost a key player in Bradley Beal, who was ruled out for the Olympics due to COVID protocols.

Durant may be right that lack of familiarity is impacting things. However, with key players Devin Booker, Khris Middleton, and Jrue Holiday still playing in the NBA Finals, that issue will linger once they join the team and try to catch up. Plus, there may be some other reasons the team has struggled that have nothing to do with familiarity.

This article first appeared on Larry Brown Sports and was syndicated with permission.

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