After the U.S. men’s basketball team beat China by 50 points, 107-57, on Tuesday, Mike Krzyzewski, one would think, would be ecstatic. After all, his team is waltzing through its exhibitions, having beaten Argentina by 37 points and China (twice) by a combined 99 points.
After that 50-point victory, though, Krzyzewski took his team to task, telling reporters, “We had a little bit too much fun out there tonight. We have to tone that down a little bit.”
Is that a fair assessment?
“Well, I think he was referring to one particular play when there was a dunk attempt, and it was like a 360 dunk,” Chairman of USA Basketball and Philadelphia 76ers special advisor Jerry Colangelo said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “It would have been spectacular had it been completed, but it didn’t happen, and I think he just felt that was a little bit over the top.”
Colangelo, of course, is referring to DeMar DeRozan, who attempted a 360 dunk – over a defender, no less – in garbage time. And by “garbage time,” we mean “after tip-off.”
“It’s a difficult situation,” Colangelo said. “We’re playing competition based on who was available on their way to Rio, and it’s not the strongest of competition. Our first three games have been runaways. So what we’re trying to do is use these exhibitors to get ourselves in shape and prepare ourselves for Rio.You have to stay on the course and not veer off very far. So I think (Krzyzewski) wants to bring in the reins a little bit.”
Team USA plays Venezuela in Chicago on Friday and Nigeria in Houston on Monday before heading to Rio. To be sure, several quality teams will be in Brazil this summer, but make no mistake: the United States, with Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Klay Thompson, Kyrie Irving and others, is the overwhelming favorite.
“Spain seems to always come out of the pack, but France is very good, in our opinion,” Colangelo said. “Serbia is considered to be a very strong threat. Australia – (Andrew) Bogut is now playing. We were told he was not. Lithuania is always a threat. They’ve played us very well over previous competitions – World Cup and Olympics – so we don’t take anyone for granted. But my opinion, honestly, is that if we take care of our own business and focus on who we are and what we can do, we should have some success for sure.”