This is the Team USA B-squad
and it’s absolutely dominant
When Argentina coach Sergio Hernandez took his seat in the interview room last week at the new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, a Team USA press officer asked him if he could talk about the game in English.
“What game?” he cracked.
Indeed, what competition? The 111-74 exhibition-opening victory was the first of what figures to be a slew of slaughters for the U.S. Olympic men’s basketball team, even if Team USA is essentially Team B-minus.
The American juggernaut that heads to Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday is missing A-listers such as LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul. But the squad isn’t missing a beat.
At the Westgate Superbook, Team USA is the 1-20 favorite for gold. If you bet “the field” — which covers all non-USA countries — odds become a generous 10-1.
Weaknesses? With this embarrassment of riches, the men’s basketball event seems unfair, especially with international stalwarts Spain and Argentina looking long in the tooth.
The U.S. Olympic team has won its first three exhibitions, including two against China, by an average 45 points. (It faces Venezuela on Friday in Chicago and Nigeria on Monday in Houston).
“I don’t see too many weaknesses,” Carmelo Anthony told The Post. “I think the strengths of this team is defensively we definitely get after it. You have guys who have that as their primary focus. Guys who can score the basketball and shoot the basketball. I don’t think there’s much weaknesses with this team.”
Anthony and Kevin Durant are the lone returnees from the 2012 Olympic squad in London that won the USA its second straight gold. The forward duo was the 2012 club’s leading scorers, each shooting better than 50 percent from 3-point range.
The Golden State Warriors aren’t the only “superteam” Durant will play for.
“No weaknesses,” Durant said. “We got the best point guards in the world who can score and pass [Kyrie Irving, Kyle Lowry]. We got shooters everywhere. We got athletic bigs who can turn on the box and score at the rim. We got long, athletic wings and that can get up and down the floor and be athletes. And we have the best coach.”
USA coach Mike Krzyzewski is also delighted to have perimeter players such as Klay Thompson, DeMar DeRozan, Jimmy Butler and Paul George, whom he calls, “big athletes who are drivers.”
And his roster is stacked with two physical centers, DeMarcus Cousins and DeAndre Jordan, giving Team USA a different interior look than the previous two gold-medal winners.
“These two guys are low post,” Coach K said. “They work real hard at it. The two big guys who want to be big guys. They want to do all the dirty work.”
Flash, dash and defense.
“There are no weaknsess,” Thompson told The Post. “It’s hard for me to think of one. We have size, athleticism, shooting, multiple guys who can defend positions. Maybe one thing you can say other teams have on us is they’ve been playing together since youth. We have to learn on the fly and develop the chemistry.”
“What is chemistry?” Durant said. “Knowing each other’s games. Chemistry is only a problem when you don’t care about winning. We care about winning.”
And that’s all Team USA CEO Jerry Colangelo has done since taking over the program after 2004 when Argentina won the gold and the Americans embarrassingly captured the bronze.
Maybe the U.S. Olympians don’t have the normal superstar power, but they maintained some glamor by wooing back Durant and Anthony, who goes for an Olympic-basketball record third gold. In 16 Olympics games in 2008 and 2012, Anthony has averaged 13.9 points and 4.5 rebounds in 18 minutes, shooting 53.7 percent from the field, 44.6 percent from 3-point land.
“He’s a terrific international player,” Colangelo said. “His skill set fits like a glove. He loves the environment. He loves the culture. He feels like this is family.”
Anthony couldn’t have seemed happier during Olympic training camp.
“It feels real good to be back out there competing again,” he said. “It’s been a long offseason.”
Perhaps the only thing that could stop this basketball juggernaut are the Rio de Janeiro mosquitoes.
Krzyzewski had a light moment talking about Rio.
“The Argentina coach just told me it’s one of his favorite cities in the world,” Coach K said. “Told me about places I didn’t know about. He said, ‘You should go there, especially the night before we play you.’ Maybe he was setting me up. That dirty dog.”