In comparison with the 1992 Dream Team, Bryant believes this year’s squad would have the age, athleticism and poise to “pull one out” if the two teams went head-to-head.
Dream Team members Scottie Pippen, Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan all believed Bryant’s comments were ludicrous, and rightfully so.
It is downright asinine to use this team as a measuring stick to 1992. The 2012 team is missing key players in Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. The players replacing them are Andre Iguodala, James Harden, Blake Griffin, Tyson Chandler, etc.
Every single player on the 1992 team – with the exception of Christian Laettner – were easy Hall of Famers inductees. And there were still some missing pieces on the outside like Isiah Thomas, Joe Dumars and Hakeem Olajuwon. Supposedly, Thomas wasn’t selected because Jordan refused to play if he were on the roster. Dumars would have been on the team if an injury occurred. Olajuwon couldn’t because he wasn’t a U.S. citizen. Although, it would be interesting to see if he would have chosen to play for Nigeria as opposed to the U.S.
In all honesty, the 2008 Redeem team is better than this one. Either way, both teams would lose.
However, say the 2012 squad was at full strength versus 1992’s. Who would have the advantage over who?
1992 Original Dream Team
PF Christian Laettner, C David Robinson, C Patrick Ewing, SF Larry Bird, SF Scottie Pippen, SF Chris Mullin, SG Michael Jordan, SG Clyde Drexler, PF Karl Malone, PG John Stockton, PF Charles Barkley, PG Magic Johnson
2012 “Dream Team II”
C Dwight Howard, SF Kevin Durant, SF LeBron James, SF Carmelo Anthony, SG Dwayne Wade, PG Chris Paul, SG Kobe Bryant, PG Deron Williams, PG Derrick Rose, SG Russel Westbrook, PF Chris Bosh, PF Kevin Love
I can see some clear mismatches. Aside from the small forward position in the frontcourt, the 2012 roster would get smoked with size. Durant and Melo would eat up a wounded Bird considering their offensive prowess, while Mullin’s excellent jump shooting would put pressure on those two defensively. Pippen would concentrate on LeBron throughout the game, especially considering the defensive impact that he has.
In the backcourt, Jordan would smoke Kobe, Wade and Westbrook, and then come right back and lock them up. Kobe would be forced to take tougher jump shots more than ever. As long as Wade can’t get to the rim, he’ll be neutralized. Westbrook might be able to get to the rim because of his speed, but don’t count on it. Drexler was known for his speed and athleticism in his prime, so Westbrook and Wade, in particular, would meet their match in that aspect.
The 1992 Dream Team, as Jordan stated, played the game astutely. The current team still wouldn’t be as mentally tough at full strength. That team is full of lethal, cold-blooded basketball players. All someone has to do is watch the Dream Team’s documentary practice scrimmages. I’m certain any version of the 2012 team lacks the competitive core of players compared to the 1992 team.
Kobe was just caught in the heat of the moment. A player like Kobe operates like Jordan. As long as he is on the team, do you think Jordan would say his team could be beaten?
Nonetheless, with Bryant’s statement, come July 29 against France, the bar will have to be set. The ’92 Dream Team will be paying close attention to every game this year’s team plays. The spotlight is on them twofold. The ’92 team beat opponents by a margin of 43.8 points as opposed to 27.8 set in 2008. Needless to say, this generation of players need to step their game up if they think they’d even have a chance at beating the one and only Dream Team.
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