LAS VEGAS — Three weeks wasn't enough time to prepare for the last Olympics. So now the United States is trying three years.
The Americans open training camp today, but they're much closer to the end of their Olympic basketball preparations than the beginning. With the same coaching staff and many of the same players back for their third straight summer, much of the work has been done.
There isn't the same rush to cram everything in as there was four years ago, when the Americans were together for only 20 days before their first game in Athens — a 92-73 blowout loss against Puerto Rico that was their worst defeat ever in the Olympics. They lost twice more and left with a bronze medal, citing a lack of preparation as one of their biggest problems.
Carmelo Anthony was on that team, and knows this one can't use that excuse.
"We've been together for years now, so we know what to expect,” Anthony said. "It isn't like we just came together in two weeks. We've been together last summer all summer, six of the guys been together the summer before that, and a couple of us been together since ‘04. So we've been together for a long time.”
Anthony, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul, Dwight Howard and Chris Bosh were together for 42 days in 2006, counting the world championships. Much of the team was here last summer for 24 days for the FIBA Americas tournament.
"We've had almost the same team three years, so they have a pretty good understanding of what we want to do,” assistant coach Mike D'Antoni said.