Thursday, July 12, 2012

1992 Dream Team vs. 2012 Team USA

Kobe Bryant just announced that the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team could beat the 1992 U.S. Olympic Team (more commonly known at the Dream Team).

Michael Jordan's response: "I just laughed".

For some bizarre reason, there is no baseball today. So I'm going to break down the Dream Team vs. Team USA matchup.
Before you read the position-by-position breakdown, it's worth noting that I tend to think that the players of today are better than the players of yesteryear, across all sports. Manny Ramirez was a better player than Babe Ruth, even though Ruth has many more "Win Shares". Ruth abused his body, did no off-season training, and played against a much smaller talent pool.

In the NBA, conditioning and coaching (and defense) keeps improving. Players study more tape than they did 20 years ago. The international talent pool keeps growing. Bill Russell won 11 Championship Rings, but I bet he couldn't beat Tim Duncan 1-on-1.

With that in mind, here's my breakdown:

Dream Team (1992)
Team USA (2012)
Point Guard Magic Johnson Chris Paul Dream Team
Shooting Guard Michael Jordan Kobe Bryant Dream Team
Small Forward Larry Bird Kevin Durant Team USA
Power Forward Charles Barkley LeBron James Team USA
Center Patrick Ewing Tyson Chandler Dream Team
Bench (PG) John Stockton (PG) Russell Westbrook (PG)
Deron Williams (PG)
Team USA
Bench (SG/SF) Clyde Drexler (SG)
Chris Mullin (SF)
Scottie Pippen (SF)
James Harden (SG)
Andre Iguodala (G/F)
Carmelo Anthony (SF)
Bench (PF/C) Karl Malone (PF)
Christian Laettner (PF)
David Robinson (C)
Kevin Love (PF)
Anthony Davis (PF)
Dream Team

Final Verdict: Dream Team wins, 4-3.


Point Guard
Statistically, Magic Johnson is the best point guard ever. He is frequently compared to LeBron James - a freak of nature that could play any position. I love watching Chris Paul, but he's no Magic Johnson.

Shooting Guard
I hate Kobe. Just when the team I'm rooting for (Spurs, Celtics, Suns, Thunder) is about to win, he sticks in the dagger. However, MJ is the only player I've ever seen play who had more last-second heroics. Also, MJ was 4 years younger than Kobe is now.

Small Forward
As much as I hate Kobe, I love Larry. Born in Boston, I was a huge Celtics fan in the 1980s. But Durant's better, and he finally proved to the world this year than he can carry a team as well as Bird.

Power Forward
James normally plays Small Forward. But on a team that needs size, I think his role will shift to Power Forward, where he's better than Sir Charles.

The Dream Team had two Hall-Of-Fame centers: Ewing and Robinson (they each started 4 games). Chandler is fun to watch, and he's more fun to root for than Dwight Howard. But he can't compare to either of the Twin Towers of Ewing and Robinson.

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