Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Semi-Serious Comparison of Dream Teams

NBATV yesterday aired a documentary of the 1992 Dream team, showing previously unseen footage and unheard anecdotes. The entertaining documentary concluded with the theory that no team would ever be better than that incarnation of the Dream Team. Let's go ahead and say that that's probably right, but just for shits let's look at one other team, the 2008 Redeem Team.


VS.

The following arbitrary categories will determine who stands as the best American team of all time.





Historical Significance: The 1992 team merged the Bird/Magic 80s stars with the Jordan era, combining for the first time the best from two of basketball's top periods. Additionally, the best players playing together outside of the All-Star game was unprecedented at the professional level. The 2008 team came together to avenge the sloppy showing at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Advantage: 1992.

Quality of Competition: The 1992 team demolished opponents winning by an average of 44.5 points a game. However, the NBA had yet to experience the influx of foreign talent that came with the 21st century. The 2008 team beat a Spanish team with seven current of future NBA players including all-star Pau Gasol. They won their games by an average of 28 points and never less than 11.

Advantage: 2008.

Point Guards: Both teams featured the league's best point guards, Magic Johnson and Chris Paul. Magic was coming off a retirement from the NBA but was still one of the world's best players. His playmaking and control of an offense is still unparalleled. Paul has an advantage defensively but the overall edge goes to Magic. John Stockton and Deron Williams are both solid players for a Dream team but weren't going to make or break the team.

Advantage: 1992.

Shooting Guards: Kobe and Wade vs. MJ and Clyde Drexler isn't even close. The 1992 team was loaded at this position with both players leading their teams to the finals. Sorry Kobe.

Advantage: 1992.

Small Forwards: Lebron and Carmelo vs. Larry Bird and Scottie Pippen is the first position win for the 2008 team. Lebron was already the best player in the world whereas Larry Bird would never again play in the NBA.

Advantage: 2008.

Power Forwards: Karl Malone and Charles Barkley vs. Boozer and Bosh is lopsided so let's talk about Charles. The documentary rightly focused on Barkley's incredible charisma, and this was my favorite part. Here's my favorite anecdote from Sir Charles: "One thing you don't want to do is drink with Larry [Bird] 'cause Larry only drinks Buckweiser [sic] and Buckweiser is THE strongest beer in the world. My head hurt for like two whole days." This unlikely friendship between a hick from Indiana and a hick from Alabama would go on to spawn one of the great films of our lifetime, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry.

   


Advantage: 1992.

Centers: Ewing and Robinson v. Dwight Howard and Dwight Howard. Ewing and Robinson get a slight edge for their depth and offensive abilities. Dwight Howard played a defensive role for this team incredibly well despite having little depth behind him.


Slight Advantage: 1992.

Old Ass Veteran: Larry Bird took the Jason Kidd spot for the 1992 team. This is just too sad to compare.

Advantage: 1992.

Head Scratching Inclusions: Michael Redd and Tayshaun Prince were on the 2008 team for defense and three pointers or something. Christian Laettner was on the team because he balled out at Duke. Christian Laettner didn't get respect then or now from anyone in the NBA or on his team. Hell, the documentary even ends with him splashing water in the ocean for some reason. Probably to make him look stupid. Fuck Duke.

Advantage: 2008.

Defense: This is the biggest advantage for the 2008 team. With Lebron and Dwight Howard, the team started the two best defensive players in the league. Wade was unleashed defensively as a sixth man and Chris Paul and Deron Williams prevented point guards from getting in the lane. The 1992 team featured an old as shit Larry Bird, Magic Johnson's matador defense, and Chris Mullin's whiteness. Jordan and Pippen were amazing defenders but the team had a weakness against quick point guards. Angola didn't quite have the personnel to exploit this, but I'm guessing a team in the 21st century would have been able to slice through the defense.

Advantage: 2008.

Hypothetical match-up between the two teams: It has to be said that if these two teams played, the 2008 team would have won. The current NBA players are stronger, better conditioned, and bigger than the 1992 team. Lebron James would have most likely been guarded by Scottie Pippen, who gives up roughly 80 pounds to Lebron. Watching the documentary with the practice scenes, I was shocked by how slow the players looked, especially in the scene where they played the best college players. Athletically, players like Stockton, Bird, Mullin, and Laettner (well fine I could have just said the white guys), aren't strong enough or quick enough to stop a player like Deron Williams or Carmelo Anthony. Put it this way: the 2008 team would have easily won by 45 points against 1992 competition. Can you say the same thing about the 1992 team against 2008 competition? Could they have won by 28 points a game against the Gasol brothers, Yao Ming, and Dirk Nowitzki?

Advantage: 2008.

Hall of Famers: Every single member of the 1992 squad made it into Springfield, even Christian Laettner (although, Laettner only made it as a cruel joke). Chances are no one will bounce their grandkids on their knee and tell the story of Michael Redd, Tayshaun Prince, and Carlos Boozer making it into Springfield.

Advantage: 1992.

Final Decision: It would be blasphemous to say anyone but 1992, just from the perspective of historical significance and eras coming together on one dominant team. The 2012 team could have been in this same article with the addition of Durant and Derrick Rose, until Rose tore his ACL and Dwight Howard hurt his vagina back. One thing I think we can all agree on is fuck Spain and Serge Ibaka. Go ahead and try against us in the Olympics and see if we bail your asses out when your economy collapses. Too real? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

No comments:

Post a Comment