Thursday, August 21, 2008

Dream Team Vs. 'Redeem' Team

With the United States men's basketball team finally back on track, there have been some rumblings that this version of the team - who have nicknamed themselves "The Redeem Team" - might be the best since the original Dream Team crushed all who took them on in Barcelona in 1992.

So, it got me thinking, if that '92 U.S. Basketball Team were to take on this current one - who would win?

The quick response would obviously be the Dream Team, but that may not be the case - or at least not as easily as one would think.

Let's run down the team members:

In 1992 the consisted of:
  • Larry Bird
  • Michael Jordan
  • Patrick Ewing
  • Magic Johnson
  • Clyde Drexler
  • John Stockton
  • Chris Mullin
  • Scottie Pippen
  • Charles Barkley
  • Christian Laettner
  • David Robinson
  • Karl Malone
This year's team is:
  • LeBron James
  • Kobe Bryant
  • Dwayne Wade
  • Carmelo Anthony
  • Carlos Boozer
  • Chris Bosh
  • Dwight Howard
  • Tayshaun Prince
  • Michael Redd
  • Jason Kidd
  • Deron Williams
  • Chris Paul
The 1992 team has 10 or 11 sure fire hall of famers on the team. While a lot of the 2008 team have yet to scratch the surface of their talent level.

If I were to match the players up, it would have to look like this (with '92 team going first)
  • Jordan vs. Bryant
  • Pippen vs. James
  • Robinson vs. Bosh
  • Ewing vs. Howard
  • Johnson vs. Wade
  • Barkley vs. Anthony
  • Malone vs. Boozer
  • Stockton vs. Paul
  • Laettner vs. Prince
  • Bird vs. Kidd
  • Drexler vs.Williams
  • Mullin vs. Redd
Now, obviously in this situation the '92 team has the size advantage while the quickness definitely belongs to the '08 team. Try to remember this: Johnson, Mullin and Bird were nearing the end of their careers - in fact Johnson was already retired. This is not them in their prime.

In my opinion, I think if the teams were to play 10 games, that the '92 team would win six. But, that is a lot closer than I bet most people would think. Jordan has that extra something special that made everyone around him play that much better - which I think gives them the edge. Bryant has been compared to Jordan - but he has yet to show that he has that special something.

Either way, I am glad the United States has finally realized that the world has gotten a lot better. There is no way you can throw a group of all-stars on to the court for a handful of practices and expect them to gel in time to win the gold medal. The U.S. finally did something right with the selection process and three year commitment plan. It guarantees that we will at least be players for years to come.

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