Thursday, July 12, 2012
Dream Team Drama
I was going to blog about the NBA free agency frenzy today, but that will have to wait until tomorrow. instead I am going to weigh in on the Dream Team controversy. I've been inundated with texts, tweets, e-mails, and facebook postings asking me what Kobe Bryant was smoking when he said the 2012 Olympic team could beat the Dream Team. Let's dissect this argument shall we?
First and foremost you have to understand who the source is. Kobe Bryant is the most competitive athlete of his generation. It's not in his DNA to think anyone is better than him. The only athletes I've ever seen with as much fire and intensity are Michael Jordan and Michael Irvin.
Secondly, lets get past the notion the Dream Team was unbeatable. At the time they were assembled that was true, but the game has evolved and new stars have taken their place. You have to take into consideration the 2012 team is younger, stronger, and faster than the Dream Team. Execution and experience plays a large part in the equation, but superior athleticism can balance the scales. Here's how I see it.
Point guard: Magic and John Stockton are arguably the two best point guards that ever played the game. That being said neither one of them could keep Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, or Deron Williams in front of them. Magic at 6'9 would post those guys up like crazy, but he would also get dunked on repeatedly. Stockton was a master surgeon however and Magic the consummate floor general so I'll give a slight edge to the Dream Team.
Shooting guard: I've been waiting a long time to say this, KOBE BRYANT VS. MICHAEL JORDAN IS A WASH! They are mirror images of each other and his airness has no distinct advantage. Clyde Drexler on the other hand would eat Andre Iguodala and James Harden for lunch. The 2012 team is a little thin at this position. Advantage Dream Team.
Small forward: LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and Kevin Durant annihilate Scottie Pippen, Chris Mullin, and Larry Bird.
Power forward: Charles Barkley and Karl Malone man handle Blake Griffin and Kevin Love.
Center: David Robinson and Patrick Ewing take Tyson Chandler to school.
To be honest only 4 members of the 2012 team (Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant) would have been selected for the Dream Team. If you want to evaluate the teams by the depth of their roster there's no comparison. The Dream Team wins in a landslide. If you compare the best five against each other the argument gets more interesting.
If you put those two squads up against one another I'm not so sure the Dream Team wins. At the very least it's a close call. The Dream Team would have to be at their best to win. In short, the Dream Team probably wins, but just barely.