USA Basketball enters the Rio Olympics as a heavy, heavy favorite to take home gold despite not having some of the top-shelf American talent like LeBron James or Stephen Curry at the Games.
In the Redeem Team era, Team USA has primarily been respectful to the competition, despite remaining obviously very confident. Kyrie Irving, when asked what could stop the team from winning gold, however, was pretty blunt.
"I don't know ... nothing," Irving said, after taking time to ponder. "Honestly, that should be our attitude. If things get hard, we should be able to withstand it. And we'll be ready for anything."
This is obviously pretty damn confident, but it's not wrong. I think it's worth noting that while Irving says that nothing could stop USA from taking home top honors, he did hedge a little by mentioning that it should be their mindset, as opposed to a direct statement of fact.
This kind of statement is what we hope for as media and as a consuming public. It's honest, frank and doesn't particularly pull any punches.
With a less-than-overwhelming international field of competition in front of them, Team USA should roll on the way to gold. No other country should beat them, even with less talent than they normally have.
This squad still features Kevin Durant, Irving, Klay Thompson, DeMarcus Cousins, Paul George, Carmelo Anthony and several other players that would all be the best player on almost every other country's roster. If there's more than one game that's remotely close, I'd be stunned.
Now it's time to play the games and see if Irving's right. Group play for Team USA starts on Saturday, August 6 against China at 6 PM ET.