The United States is still undefeated through four games of group play, but just barely. They beat Australia by 10 points on Wednesday and escaped by just three against Serbia on Friday. They’re still strong favorites to take home the gold medal, but it’s been far from the cake walk many predicted it would be before the tournament started. And the players are starting to talk about what needs to change.
“As good as we are, we can’t continue to keep playing like this,” George said. “We’re still scoring 100 points taking one-on-five shots, but we’re too good for that. The toughest part is that each and every one of us is confident with the ball in our hands that we can make those shots. It just comes down to a trust factor, not letting one guy have that feeling that he has to do it alone.”
The U.S. has an unmatched collection of talent on their Olympic team, but it doesn’t have the sort of continuity that previous teams have had. Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant are the only remaining members of the 2012 gold medal team from London, while only Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson, DeMar DeRozan and DeMarcus Cousins were on the 2014 FIBA World Cup team (George was initially on the roster before suffering a devastating leg injury during a scrimmage in Las Vegas). The other six players are new to international play entirely. It’s been a process for them to get comfortable with each other. Still, there’s plenty of hope that they’ll have things figured out by the time of the medal round.