Thursday, July 26, 2012

The 1992 Dream Team vs. The 2012 Dream Team

Wake up.

You’re dreaming, or at least you must be. You might even be in a coma if you think this year’s USA men’s basketball team could beat the 1992 Dream Team.

Of course this year’s team is loaded. LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Russell Westbrook. Come on, these guys are going to walk to the top podium. They’ve already made their biggest competition look like children in the Olympic warm-up games.

Defensively, this year’s team is dominant. LeBron is the best defensive player in the world, Kobe, at one point in his career, was the best defensive player in the world and they have the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year: Tyson Chandler. It’s hard to score 50 on them let alone keep them from winning by 50.

Offensively they’re obviously great. With three of the best point guards in the world and LeBron, nobody has a chance to out score them. Oh yea, they also have the three best scorers in the world: Durant, Kobe and Anthony. It’s really not fair.

Of course the 2012 team is going to destroy anything in their path, especially when the criteria for their biggest challenge is featuring five to six NBA players.

So naturally, as sports fans, we get bored with the Olympic basketball games. Instead of caring about the actual games being played in London, we fantasize and wonder what exactly would happen if this year’s team found itself in a matchup with the greatest team ever assembled, the 1992 Dream Team.  

In all actuality, it’s impossible to know who would win. I’m sure we all know, but there’s something about the dream matchups which forces us to make the comparisons. We wish it could happen, but knowing we can never be proved wrong intrigues us.

The rosters just aren’t close in comparison. The original Dream Team played 11 hall-of-famers. To start, they had Michael Jordan in his prime. He is the greatest player in the history of the game and he fueled the fire for the ’92 team. Their backcourt also featured John Stockton, Magic Johnson and Clyde Drexler. Stockton and Johnson might be the two best point guards in the game’s history and Drexler made for a deadly backup to Jordan.

This year’s team has a stout backcourt and would have a better chance of breaking down the ’92 team’s defense with Westbrook on the court. Paul and Williams are the two best traditional point guards in the league, but it would take speed and explosiveness to score against the ’92 team.

LeBron, Durant, Kobe and Anthony would have an advantage because their size and abilities to get to the hole are almost unstoppable.  As good as the Dream Team’s backcourt was, there might not be a group of players that can or could stop the 2012 team’s scorers, not even some of the best in the history of the game.

The difference would be the ’92 team’s frontcourt. They had the greatest assembly of big men in the history of the game. Tyson Chandler and Kevin Love would stand no chance against David Robinson, Patrick Ewing, Charles Barkley and Karl Malone. Coach Mike Krzyzewski would have to use LeBron and Anthony in the frontcourt defensively and they still wouldn’t stand a chance.

LeBron would be the X-factor for the 2012 team. He would have to be Mr. everything for his team. The ’92 team didn’t have anybody that could stop him defensively and he would have to take advantage. Kobe, Durant and Anthony would also have to turn in huge performances for the 2012 to come out with a victory. If the three best scorers in the game and LeBron can’t get it done, nobody can.

It would be an epic matchup and probably the biggest game in the history of sports. There would be over 20 hall-of-famers and future hall-of-famers on the same court, which has never happened in any sport. The impossibility of the matchup, however, is the most intriguing part. As much as we want it to happen, it won’t and it’s likely for the best.  

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