No LeBron James, no Kevin Durant, no Carmelo Anthony, no Paul George, no Chris Paul, no Russell Westbrook, no Kevin Love, no problem?
We’ll find out in the next couple of weeks, if, in fact, the United States can repeat as world champions minus most of its premier players.
The World Cup of Basketball tips on Saturday from Spain, with many of the NBA’s leading MVP candidates absent, unlike four years ago, when Durant was the MVP of the World Championship tourney in Turkey. Back then, Durant dominated, with help from his Thunder sidekick Westbrook, Love and a fully healthy Derrick Rose as the U.S. regained the title, after winning bronze in 2006.
Surprisingly, it was America’s first world championship since Shaquille O’Neal led the way over Russia at the SkyDome back in 1994.
The U.S. managed only a couple of bronze medals until the 2010 squad successfully played small-ball, overwhelming with its athleticism, defensive chops and shooting ability.