Micheal Jordan left/ Lebron James Right
92 DREAM TEAM VS 2012 DREAM TEAM
After USA’s 110-63 victory over the Tunisian basketball team, Kobe Bryant signed an autograph for a Tunisian player by the name of Mohamed Hadidane. Obviously, Hadidane had a mark-out moment when he met Kobe. Hadidane had Kobe sign on the shoe that he had worn during the game. Such a moment draws comparison to the awe that the 1992 Dream Team left on their opponents before, during and after their games.
The USA team will undoubtedly win the gold medal in London. However, they will never match the level of the 1992 Dream Team.
The 1992 Dream Team is one of those rare teams that have no glaring weaknesses whatsoever. As great as the 2012 team is, they have weaknesses that could be exploited if they come across against another team which they do not match up well against. I will break down the difference between these teams one position at a time.
TYSON CHANDLER AND ANTHONY DAVIS vs. DAVID ROBINSON AND PATRICK EWING. = Center
In the interest of fairness, I will limit my critique of Anthony Davis as his NBA career has not begun yet. However, we do know that he will be an intimidating defensive force just as Tyson Chandler is for the Knicks. There is no question that Anthony Davis will be hoisting an NBA Defensive Player of the Trophy just as Chandler did in 2012. While it remains to be seen if Davis is a one dimensional player, I, being a Knicks fan know full well that Tyson Chandler definitely is one-dimensional. It is counter-productive to give him the ball inside in order to score in the low post. On the other hand, David Robinson and Patrick Ewing made it happen on both ends of the court. David Robinson was the 1992 Defensive Player of the Year. However, he also had 23 games in which he scored 40 or more points. Patrick Ewing averaged 21 points, 11 rebounds and nearly 3 blocks. Robinson and Ewing were dominant players headed straight for the Hall of Fame after their career. Tyson Chandler’s career has been on the rise for the past few years, but he is no Hall of Famer. If I could be any clearer, Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum would not be better than Robinson and Ewing together if they were on the 2012 team.
Advantage : Dream Team
KEVIN LOVE VS. KARL MALONE , CHARLES BARKLEY AND CHRISTIAN LAETTNER = POWER FORWARD
Kevin Love has a long career ahead of him. He has a well-rounded game which includes scoring in the interior as well as consistency from the outside. He has enough 20-rebound games to convince the world that he is a two-dimensional player. However, he has not able to make his team better in the manner that Malone and Barkley had during their careers. Malone’s pure strength was in the low post. Barkley had an all-around game as well and has greater versatility than Love. Love will definitely have the advantage over Christian Laettner, though. The current dream team has basically replaced the power forward position in the starting lineup with an alignment of 2 small-forward players. This may be favorable in match-ups against smaller teams in these Olympics. Against a team like the Dream Team, they would need Kevin Love in the lineup.
Advantage: Dream Team
LEBRON JAMES, KEVIN DURANT AND CARMELO ANTHONY VS. SCOTTIE PIPPEN, CHRIS MULLIN AND LARRY BIRD.
Here’s a match-up where the current team may have an advantage over the 1992 Dream Team due to the fact that Larry Bird was pretty much at the end of his career at the time. Bird’s body of work has yet to be duplicated by the three men on the left. Scottie Pippen may be one of the best two dimensional players that this league has ever seen. He’s a defensive specialist that could guard more than two positions. The obvious weaklink of the three men is Chris Mullin. However, LeBron James and Kevin Durant are so great that they could have made the Dream Team in 1992. Kevin Durant’s legacy will be greater than Mullin’s. Furthermore, LeBron James could also guard multiple positions when he is motivated. Of course, Durant and LeBron are the two best scorers in the NBA presently. Melo is the weaklink of the three players as he plays little to no defense and is a streaky scorer. Overall, Durant and LeBron are in their prime right now. Scaringly enough, they are not done yet.
Advantage: The 2012 USA Team.
MICHAEL JORDAN AND CLYDE DREXLER vs. KOBE BRYANT, ANDRE IGOUDALA , RUSSELL WESTBROOK and JAMES HARDEN.
Michael Jordan was 29 years old and in his prime at the time of his appearance with the Dream Team. The same cannot be said for Kobe Bryant. While he is still a top 5 player in the NBA today, he is the elder statesman of the current USA squad. Like LeBron James, Jordan was fresh off winning a NBA championship and had the world at the palm of his hands. His teammate, Clyde Drexler was Jordan’s main nemesis during the 1992 NBA Finals. These guys were in the pinnacle of their careers when they were on the Dream Team. On the other hand, Russell Westbrook has shown that he is a great player that still needs further polishing. So does Harden. Although he plays the point guard position, he is not a true point guard like CP3 or Deron Williams. Thus, Coach K might as well use him at the 2 spot. We all know that Russell Westbrook has the tendency to shoot his team out of potential victories. Andre Igoudala is the X that does not belong in either group. He is the true example of a one dimensional player. He’s a great defender with no offense, except in the transition game. Of course, AI would not have been able to stop neither Drexler nor Jordan in 1992. It’s pretty clear who wins this matchup. It would not have mattered if Kobe Bryant were 29.
CHRIS PAUL AND DERON WILLIAMS VS. MAGIC JOHNSON AND JOHN STOCKTON
The Dream Team’s advantage is magnified by the fact that CP3 never seems to be at 100%. It is further magnified by the size advantage that Magic Johnson would have over both individuals. Of course, Magic was past his prime during the 92 Dream Team. However, his size advantage and his mental acumen would still be enough to outdo CP3 and D-Will. John Stockton may be bit of a defensive liability against CP3 and Deron Williams, but there’s no question who the better PG is. Considering that Stockton is the all-time leader in steals, he has the defensive advantage as well. CP3 and D-Will are not known for their defensive prowess. Thus, it would be easy pickings for Johnson and Stockton.
Advantage: Dream Team
In retrospect, the 2012 team may have a chance to be the second-best team of all time. However, they are chock-full of one-dimensional players. I would never give the ball to Chandler and Igoudala on the offensive end. At the same time, I would not trust Carmelo Anthony to play defense on..anybody. The Dream Team would dominate this current USA Basketball Squad on the defensive boards. David Robinson, Patrick Ewing, Charles Barkley and Karl Malone would run roughshot over Kevin Love, Tyson Chandler and Anthony Davis on the glass. On the other hand, Kevin Love is the only true low-post scorer on the 2012 squad. The Dream Team would key in on that and shut him down. CP3’s and Deron Williams’s lack of size and defense would open the floodgates for Magic and Stockton to dish out assists at will. Most of those assists would go to the interior, where the Dream Team would have a decided advantage.
It’s pretty clear that the 2012 team would not match up to the 1992 Dream Team. The 1992 Dream Team would win by at least 20 points in any potential matchup.