LAS VEGAS -- LeBron James knows that some skeptics are doubting Team USA's chances in the London Olympics, but the reigning NBA MVP is still confident his team can win a gold medal.
When asked specifically about what the team didn't have without injured stars Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard and Dwyane Wade, James took it upon himself to display the confidence that helped him secure his first NBA championship last month.
"There's nothing that we don't have on this roster," James said after Team USA's first practice Friday afternoon.
James acknowledged that he felt sorry for players such as Rose and Howard who couldn't be on the team because of injuries, but that didn't change his mindset.
"Anybody, anybody who gets hurt, honestly," he said. "Not only D-Rose, but Dwight, Chris Bosh, LaMarcus Aldridge is supposed to be here as well. The list goes on. I wish all of them just get back healthy."
Given the status of some of USA's injured stars and the fact that Chris Paul (thumb) and Anthony Davis (ankle) are not at 100 percent, Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski said it will be difficult for him to build his team the way he would have liked.
"There is a challenge there," Krzyzewski said. "First of all, you got to get through these two days and select (the team) because still your mind is on, 'OK, who are the 12 going to be' -- while you're putting in a system, so there's not the normal continuity. But they did a good job, we actually got good stuff in today and we've got to pace them. We've got to pace them and use this period to start becoming more familiar with one another, put a system in, hopefully play a good game against the Dominican Republic and then use DC for another aspect of putting a team together."
"We all know what's at stake and we all know what we're playing for," Durant said. "We're playing for our country, of course, and we want to get that gold. So guys are going to come out and be team first guys and we know everybody's game inside and out, we've played against them so many times during the regular season.
"So we know these games inside and out and it's just a matter of us getting the system down, defensive and offensive end, and everybody's going to play together."
The Americans understand they can't take any opponent lightly, especially because of all the setbacks that have been placed in their way recently.
"Anybody can be beat," Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love said. "You guys see powerhouses in the NCAAs. It's basketball; anybody can win on any given day so you have to bring it. We can't just assume that we're going to win.
"We have to play like we're the underdogs (and) play with a lot of heart and we have to play as hard as we can to win that gold."