Dream On: Why the 1992 Dream Team is better than the 2012 Team

Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant stirred up an interesting debate in Las Vegas during workouts with the USA Olympic team where the squad including LeBron James, Chris Paul, Deron Williams and Bryant will aim their sights for the gold medal in a few weeks during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England.

A reporter asked the 33-year old future Hall of Famer Bryant how he thought this year’s squad would fare against what most consider the best team ever assembled in sports, the Dream Team, the Men’s basketball team that won gold in Barcelona during the 1992 Summer Olympics.

Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Scottie Pippen, David Robinson, Clyde Drexler, Chris Mullen, Karl Malone, John Stockton and Christian Laettner were The Beatles of the basketball world, finally bridging together interest of international players and the game of basketball as well as the first team of professionals against international teams in competition.

Coached by Chuck Daly of the Bad Boy era Detroit Pistons, the Dream Team waltzed into Barcelona and won each game by an average of 44 points en route to beating Croatia for the gold and were treated like pure celebrities than opponents.

Such a fitting time since this summer marks the 20th anniversary of the ensemble of the 1992 squad, an amazing television documentary on NBATV, novel by sports writer Jack McCallum was published have rekindled the interest.

Jordan’s response was he reportedly laughed when he heard Bryant’s comments

This roster consisted of 11 Hall of Famers and when Bryant was asked that question, whether or not the 2012 team could hang with the 1992 team, Bryant had this to say, “Well, just from a basketball standpoint, they obviously have a lot more size than we do — you know, with [David] Robinson and [Patrick] Ewing and [Karl] Malone and those guys. But they were also — some of those wing players — were also a lot older, at kind of the end of their careers. We have just a bunch of young racehorses, guys that are eager to compete.

So I don’t know. It’d be a tough one, but I think we’d pull it out.

Sure the 14-time NBA All-Star and five-time NBA champion thinks that him and the young guns can run circles around the Dream Team, but this is simply ludicrous. Bryant changed his response to later say that they could win at least one game against them, but the Dream Team have far better talent on both ends of the court and some guys were in the midst of their prime years, a la Jordan, Robinson, Malone, Stockton and Drexler.

Magic and Bird both retired after the 1992 Summer Olympics and were “worn down” at this point, but you’re telling me that Chris Paul and Deron Williams are better than Magic at the point? No. No. Wrong. The Dream Team could and will easily beat the 2012 team.

This is how I see comparing the two rosters as to who is simply better at the position:

Magic Johnson / Chris Paul – Magic

Michael Jordan / Kobe Bryant – Jordan

Charles Barkley / LeBron James – James

Scottie Pippen / Kevin Durant – Pippen

Patrick Ewing / Tyson Chandler – Ewing

Karl Malone / Carmelo Anthony – Malone

David Robinson / Kevin Love – Robinson

Clyde Drexler / James Harden – Drexler

Chris Mullin / Andre Iguodala – Mullin

Larry Bird / Russell Westbrook – Bird

John Stockton / Deron Williams – Stockton

Christian Laettner / Anthony Davis – Davis

Defensively the Dream Team is far superior and was much bigger and can stuff the paint with ease. Chandler is the only true center for the 2012 team with forwards like Love, James and Davis each taking the fifth spot but with guys like Ewing and Robinson, there’s simply no question. James, Iguodala and Westbrook are the best relentless defenders at the wing (Iggy, the best on the team) and with what the 2012 team lacks in size, they can make up for it by scoring.

However both squads are solid when it comes to scoring and the United States has never seen a problem generating points. Natural strokers like Bryant, Anthony and Durant will no doubt be looked upon to score at will and their game plan will consist of scoring off of turnovers and killing opponents on the fast break. The US forced the Dominican Republic to 27 turnovers for 38 points in a crushing 113-59 victory in their first exhibition match last Thursday. Whereas the Dream Team steamrolled over Cuba 136-57 in Game 1 of the Tournament of the Americas by a staggering 79 points.

The Dream Team played more of post-up style of play and didn’t have to rely on fast break buckets, their size alone made it easy to get inside the paint and would simply overpower the 2012. With Jordan out for blood, Magic working his way inside and finding Bird out for the open three, Robinson and Malone blocking shots and Pippen harassing on defense, the 1992 team would win hands down.

So dream on Kobe.

photos courtesy of www2.tbo.com and lakers.topbuzz.com