Olympic Dreaming – ’92 Dream Team vs ’08 Olympic Squad… part 2

10 12 2007

versus

Here we go again, round 2… and ‘twould seem most are well in favour of the ’92 squad. And given the places that esteemed group hold within our hearts & minds, is it so surprising? So, today – we get the thoughts of TWolves Blog, MVN Born and Raised, Signal To Noise, Storming the Floor, Forum Blue and Gold, The Sports Lounge, All Ball Sports Blog, Ballhype and my own opinion on this matchup… (and if you’re looking for part 1, it can be found here)

S2N – Signal To Noise
We’re assuming that we have a time machine and everyone is in their prime, right? I would have to go with the 1992 Dream Team, and not just out of some sentiment about the game being better in the old days or something. I think the aggregate talent level of the team of today is as amazing as it was back in the day, if not more, because training methods are better and there are more spectacular players to go around.

I just think the 1992 team has a couple things the current one doesn’t: better spot-up shooters (yeah, Bird and Mullen, but even so-called “scorers” like Jordan, Magic, et al could hit their shot with consistency) and better defenders. Bruce Bowen on the current roster is a sop to defense and Kobe always plays top notch D, but I think the vets in their time could take the new breed down for those reasons.

Jeremy – TWolves Blog
LeBron - USA I’m doing a Dr. Jack style breakdown of the original and current Dream Teams.
First off, I think the original Dream Team wins 8 of 10 times against the current team and, in a one and done scenario, I think the original team wins. Here’s some of the parameters of my opinion:
1. These two teams would be playing FIBA and not NBA rules. (This is a huge difference as they are basically different games).
2. The original Dream Team is being judged on the players’ age, skills, and condition as of the summer of 1992, the current team as of the summer of 2007.
3. It should be noted that Carmelo and LeBron, both small forwards, started games for the US Team and Dwight Howard, listed under USA basketball as a F/C started at Center most games. I am putting Anthony at power forward for the purposes of this analysis.
4. Larry Bird was a starter almost ceremoniously, even though his back was pretty much done. Scottie Pippen and Chris Mullin played more minutes at SF, but Bird will be used for the starting comparison.

OK, here’s the breakdown:

STARTERS

Point Guard – Magic Johnson v. Jason Kidd
I don’t think this is a contest and it’s Magic hands down.
I realize he was already out with the HIV virus, but Magic Johnson was still a physical specimen at 6’9″ and ran the best fast-break offense in the history of the NBA.
J-Kidd USA In 1992, he still had the size, speed and skill to play 5 positions and he would have devoured Kidd on the defensive end. Additionally, it should be noted that when he retired, Magic Johnson was the all-time assist leader and accomplished this feat only playing 11 full seasons (13 total, one injury plagued at 37 games and another with HIV in 95-96 where he only played 32). In a world of short memories, Magic Johnson’s dominance is being forgotten.
Kidd is a streaky jump shooter, but he does run an offense well.
He would have no prayer of guarding Magic. I think it’s fair to throw in the intangible that Magic had the HIV virus and people were afraid to physically D him up.
MAJOR EDGE: 1992 Dream Team

Shooting Guard: Michael Jordan v. Kobe Bryant
This is an argument that has popped up recently that is getting old.
Kobe is one of the best players I’ve seen play. Jordan is the best player ever at the game.
1992 Michael Jordan is about as prime as it gets. He had just developed his three point shot, he could guard 4 positions, and, he will not lose.
Kobe can turn it on when he wants to, Jordan didn’t have an off switch. Just having to argue this makes me angry. Kobe needed the arguably best center of all-time to win championships. Jordan won 4 of his 6 rings without a competent center of point guard and that has NEVER been done (2 of the 6 Bulls teams had BJ Armstrong in his prime, overrated, but still decent).
The 1998 Bulls team was all Jordan – Pippen was out over 50 games, Rodman was washed up, Harper was washed up, Longley was the center…
INSURMOUNTABLE EDGE: 1992 Dream Team

Small Forward – Larry Bird v. LeBron James
Please keep in mind that this is Larry Legend with a bad back, but that does not change the fact that a 1992 Larry Bird has no business guarding LeBron James.
LeBron is the most unique and game-changing force to come around since Magic and Kevin Garnett (both creating never-before-seen matchup problems of size, speed and skill for their positions).
It should be noted that no small forward on the original Dream Team, including Scottie Pippen, would be able to stop LeBron one-on-one, even though the game is a team game.
MAJOR EDGE – 2007 Dream Team

Power Forward – Charles Barkley v. Carmelo Anthony
This is easily the best matchup with the starters. Carmelo has the height on Barkley, but in 1992, Barkley was a dangerous combination of insane speed, outside shooting, physical defense and top-notch rebounding.
Anthony is an underrated defender who can score on anyone inside and out. I question his ability to guard Barkley. VERY SLIGHT EDGE: 1992 Dream Team

Patrick EwingCenter – Patrick Ewing v. Dwight Howard
With all due respect to Dwight Howard, this isn’t even a contest. 1992 Patrick Ewing in his prime could dominate the young man on both ends of the floow.
Ewing is one of the two best defensive centers ever and he could score anywhere from 18 feet out with a jumper or with his unbelieveable foot work. In all honesty, from a “team” standpoint, the original Dream Team would win on PG and C play alone. Add in basketball IQ, and Ewing in a wash.
INSURMOUNTABLE EDGE: 1992 Dream Team

BENCH: Malone/Robinson/Leattner/Mullin/Pippen/Drexler/Stockton v. Stoudamire/Billups/Chandler/Miller/Prince/Redd/Williams
I don’t honestly have to compare these two, right? Please note that all players on the 1992 bench, save Leattner, were in their primes. Patrick Ewing gets injured, in comes David Robinson in his prime? Yeah…Karl Malone and Clyde Drexler, in their primes, are alsso leaving the bench.
UNGODLY EDGE: 1992 Dream

Team Coach: Chuck Daly v. Coach K
Mostly because I didn’t want to write coach K’s full name, this is actually a tremendous edge to the current team. With Zone defense allowed in FIBA and, noting that in 1992 the NBA did not allow zone defense, Coach K has seen every single zone you can throw at a team and he knows how to beat them all. Chuck Daly does not.
MAJOR EDGE: 2007 Dream Team

INTANGIBLES:
Between the sheer desire of Jordan, Johnson, Barkley and Bird to win, these two teams don’t match up well.
Every single player on the original Dream Team had a consistent mid-range jumper, several are dangerous long range shooters, and, with free throws being a critical aspect, the Centers on the original team have comprable %s to the Point Guards on the current team.
It should be noted that Robinson and Ewing in their primes were physical specimens and great technical players, Dwight Howard and Amare Stoudamire would be helpless against both of them.
MAJOR EDGE: 1992 Dream Team

OVERALL WINNER: 1992 Dream Team

Mark – All Ball Sports
Big 3? The 1992 Dream Team is probably considered one of the best All-Star compilations in the history of basketball. I’m sure James Naismith would have been impressed by their overwhelming athleticism, talent, and pure skills on the hardwood. Thus, they are definitely better than the current Olympic Team of flashy athletes.

Neil Joshi – The Sports Lounge
I would have to agree with Marc, the 1992 Dream Team is not only one of the greatest teams in the history of basketball, it’s the premier team in the history of sports. No collection of athletes has been as legendary as this group was. While I like the direction where the current USA Basketball Team is going, they just don’t compare to the one, the only Dream Team.

MJ in his prime, Magic, Larry, Barkley, Stockton, Malone just to name a few. They would run all over this year’s team.

Eric Angevine – Storming the Floor
I’d certainly say 1992 was far superior, but that’s to be expected from me, since I was in college then.
I’d be surprised if the current team garners much support, but that’s just because of my bias, probably.
But looking at a photo of the 1992 Dream Team is like looking at an image of Mount Rushmore, and it even felt that way then – I don’t think that’s nostalgia talking.

Steve – MVN Born and Raised (Phoenix Suns)
Team USA is by far the most successful international basketball team. Very few, if any, will dispute that. The team that has been put together for the Beijing Olympics is one of the best ever, but is it better than the legendary 1992 Dream Team?

His AirnessToday we have Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. In ’92 there was Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.

USA’s current team comes close, but there is no way for USA Basketball to top the ’92 team. Would the starting lineup of Dwight Howard, Amare Stoudemire, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Jason Kidd beat the starting lineup America had in 1992 of Patrick Ewing, Charles Barkley, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson? Probably not.

Lets also consider reserves. ’92 definitely had better reserves. Today we have people like Shawn Marion, D-Wade, Chris Paul and Paul Pierce. Those guys are all great players, but none of them are Karl Malone, David Robinson, John Stockton, Scottie Pippen or Clyde Drexler.

If there was some way to give the ’92 players their youth back, and the two teams played one another, it would be one hell of a game, but the Dream Team would come out on top. Their reserves being quite a bit better than the current ones would have a lot to do with it.

Bringing Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan, Tracy McGrady and Allen Iverson onto the team would make the decision a hell of a lot tougher, but unfortunately none of them are on the team for various reasons.

I doubt that we will ever see a better team that the Dream Team – they were so good it’s scary. That said, one thing is for certain. The current team can dominate and win the gold just like the Dream Team did. Whether they will live up to expectations remains to be seen in Beijing.

Jason – Ballhype
Easy. The current team would win… the ’92 team is fat and old!

Kurt – Forum Blue and Gold
My initial gut reaction was that nobody could seriously challenge the Dream Team, a squad that has taken on mythical proportions. Part of that was all the legendary players, part of that was nobody else in the world was close to challenging them back then. But the more I thought about the matchups, the more I thought this would be an interesting tilt — a veteran squad with a strong inside game that played good team ball in the Dream Team, versus a more athletic and younger squad that would run them out of the building if the tempo got way up. To me the game would be about controlling the pace.

But there are some great individual matchups (the Dream Team had a very fluid starting five, only Jordan started every game, so I picked some of the legends as likely starters).

Point Guard: Magic Johnson vs. Jason Kidd
This was Magic near the end, just before the HIV announcement, but he was still a formidable force — he’d just come off a season with a PER of 25.1. That’s better than any number Jason Kidd has ever put up, but Kidd’s a tall point guard that would help reduce (but not neutralize) some of Magic’s strengths (rebounding, post up game). Magic was a great team defender but not a great one-on-one defender, Kidd could have created some plays on him. Still… ADVANTAGE: Dream Team.

Yay USA!Shooting Guard: Michael Jordan vs. Kobe Bryant
This would be so much fun to watch – both guys are at their peaks, both guys have well rounded games, both can defend and seem unstoppable on offense. Clearly Jordan gets the advantage here, but how big is it? ADVANTAGE: Dream Team.

Small Forward: Charles Barkley vs. LeBron James
Two very strong athletes who can run the floor and get to the basket at will. This is a pretty close match up, Barkley was at his peak and putting up numbers similar to what LeBron did last year. And I’d dare Sir Charles to throw the “Angola elbow” against King James. Slight Advantage: 2008.

Power Forward: Larry Bird vs. Carmelo Anthony
This was the very end of Larry Bird’s career, and his back was keeping him from being Larry the Legend, but he still played with veteran savvy. That said, Carmelo could get his points against this Bird, Melo’s game is well suited for international play and Bird could not hang with him at this point. That said, Melo’s defense would mean Bird would get some too. Advantage: 2008.

Center: Patrick Ewing vs. Dwight Howard
Another one that would be fun to watch: Howard is the better athlete but Ewing made other guys look ugly (and sometimes himself). Bottom line, both teams would have a strong inside presence. Advantage: draw.

Benches:
What the USA could bring off the bench was veteran skill and size — the “second unit” front line would have been David Robinson and Karl Malone, the 2008 version roles out Amare and Tyson Chandler (just for defense). The younger team can bring in shooters like Redd and Mike Miller, the Dream Team counters with good perimeter defenders such as Pippen. ADVANTAGE: Dream Team.

What this match up would really come down to is tempo – the current team is more athletic and younger than the old guys. But, in a half-court game, the old guys are far too big, strong and smart for the kids. I think the Dream Team’s veterans control that tempo and win the game, but in the end it’s pretty close, say 100-95.

Don – With Malice…
Team USA ‘08 I really think that the ’92 team has been heavily mythologized in the hearts and minds of pretty much every hoops fan on the planet.
Yes, a superstar team.
One that didn’t need to train & could just turn up on the day and beat all comers.
The change that this made in international basketball was huge, and the repercussions are still being felt today – in both positive and negative ways. The level of opposition was so far beneath them that it wasn’t funny. Imagine the Tar Heels showing up to play the local junior high team… insanity. Didn’t really matter who they had on the court, as the level of each individual was so far superior to any opponent they faced.
But they weren’t a team.
Not because they couldn’t be (altho’, a helluva lot of ‘ego’ in that group – just ask Isiah), but because they didn’t need to be.
Today, not so.
Due to the changes that were begun by that ’92 group, international basketball has made great strides. If they didn’t want to get left behind it was imperative that they do so – the positive effect of the presence of the Dream Team in the ’92 games was that the impact they had on basketball went from being one primarily felt within the NBA, to an effect on the entire hoops-planet. The negative was the institution in US basketball obtaining a belief that they could do as the Dream Team did, and just ‘turn up’, grab the gold, make a few pithy comments and leave.
And for a while, that was exactly what they did. No longer. International hoops has more than made the leap. More than made it, they’ve out-paced US teams. Now planning has to occur, the creation of a team with stars & role-players. A set plan of attack. Not only that, but they have to ‘train’, and train hard to create a team environment – a concept that has long been found wanting in US international basketball teams.

But… back to the match-up.
Whilst the ’92 team has benefitted from being slightly glamorized in our memories, the reverse is true for the current US team. I’m pretty sure that most folks are far more critical of them because of the jaded reactions that the past few Olympic/World Championship teams have encouraged. The Dream Team squad has better overall talent, but I think the ’08 team would be better at the entire ‘team concept’. And I think many of the match-ups would be a lot closer than most have given credit. Including the marquis match-up: Jordan vs Kobe.
Yes, Jordan is better than Kobe. But regardless of personal opinions of Kobe, Ok - Kobehe is the closest thing we’ve had to his Airness for quite a while… and tho’ I’d see MJ getting the better of Bryant, he wouldn’t have it all his own way.
In the end tho’, I think the game would be just as that match-up – the ’92 team wins, but they don’t get it all their own way.
It’d be close. Damn close.

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11 responses

11 12 2007
Celtics 24/7 » Blog Archive » Today’s Links 12/10

[…] to stay calm      SouthCoast Today   Rondo running out of the shadows     With Malice   Olympic dreaming part 2     Basketbawful    Russell, Bird, Garnett    Green Bandwagon    Is Glen(n) a bad first […]

11 12 2007
perkisabeast.com Blog » Blog Archive » Monday’s Links

[…] With Malice Olympic dreaming part 2 […]

12 12 2007
Aaron Becker

Dream Team #2 hasn’t dreamed yet ;~)

16 12 2007
Brian Foley

Great post..I think the original dream team would have been tested by the quality of the International teams today. Remember Greece made the finals of the FIBA World Championships…Where were they in 1992?

16 12 2007
withmalice

Thanks Brian. ‘Twas a collaboration I enjoyed.

3 08 2008
Julian Ricciardo

Dream Team 1992 is the Dream Team.

There is only one real dream in life… the rest can just dream and follow….

30 08 2008
Albert

I\’l be back… :)P

19 09 2008
Jamaal King

The Dream Team is way more experienced than the redeem team, there fundamental skills wurr way betta, the only advantage dat da redeem team has is athleticism. But with all said and done the dream team wurr betta all around players, they would win by 15 or more points.

7 08 2010
รับแปลเอกสาร

Sweet site, I hadn’t noticed withmalice.wordpress.com before in my searches! Keep up the great work!

10 08 2010
shipwreck

Oh yeah, what can you say when you’ve got some Horace Grant’s and John Salleys in Odem and Gasul. These guys no how to feed the king mice there chees on the defensive end.

23 08 2010
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Best site / I doesn’t noticed withmalice.wordpress.com before in my searches! Bring up the nice work!

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