Over the last few days a lot has been made of Kobe saying he believes this U.S. Men’s National Basketball team could beat the infamous 1992 “Dream Team.” There are incredible arguments on both sides. The most common so far has been the huge advantage on the front court for the “Dream Team,” where they have 2 hall of fame centers (both of which would easily rank among top-10 centers all time) compared to the single center on today’s team Tyson Chandler. That advantage continues into the power forward positions where the 1992 team has 2 of the 5 best of all time with Charles Barkley and Karl Malone , compared to the young (though promising) Kevin Love and a college kid Anthony Davis (replacing Blake Griffin due to injury). And of course they have the one and only Michael Jordan
Though Stockton might have the most assists all time and Magic might be the greatest point forward ever, they would have serious trouble with the evolved, far more athletic point guards of today, giving an advantage to today’s team. And of course we could be watching the 2 best small forwards of all time in LeBron James and Kevin Durant, not to mention Carmelo Anthony whose game excels in FIBA play. And finally you have Kobe, who is not MJ and is far older than MJ was, but he is a winner and still could give Michael trouble all over the floor (though inevitably MJ would beat up on him). This conversation would be far more entertaining if Dwight Howard was on the team, but alas we will never know who would win.
What I want to talk about here is actually what Charles Barkley said. He claims only 3 members of the current national team could even make his dream team. Let’s speculate and put together a super team of 1992 and 2012!
Point Guard: LeBron James (2012)
Much like Michael he is the star of this time. He is fresh of a Finals MVP and may be the most unique player in NBA history. Him now, is like Magic except for the fact that LeBron is in his prime and is far more athletic. He may be a true small forward, but he handles as well as anyone in NBA history and on my team he’s getting the nod at point so we can add another great small forward
Shooting Guard: Michael Jordan (1992)
Much like in ’92 the team would focus around Michael Jordan. He is the greatest to ever play and in 1992 he was at the peak of his powers. There is no doubt that he would be the star of this team.
Small Forward: Kevin Durant (2012)
The reigning NBA scoring champ and the toughest wing player to guard in the league would find an easy spot on this roster. His length gives him a ton a versatility and his ability to take over a game has shades of Michael Jordan.
Power Forward: Charles Barkley (1992)
Another dream teamer who was in his prime as he went on to win the MVP the next season and carried the Phoenix Suns to the NBA finals. Chuck has a great case for the greatest offensive PF of all time and maybe the best 4 in NBA history.
Center: David Robinson (1992)
“The Admiral” is probably the 6th best center of all time and the 7 footer would definitely be the stud big man on this “super team.”
[PG] Magic Johnson (1992) – Magic was still an elite player and is the greatest point guard of all time. Though he would lose his starting spot on this super team, he would still be the captain as the veteran presence.
[PG] Chris Paul (2012) – The quick, pass first, sneaky point guard who took the Clippers from nothing to an immediate contender this season is the only pure point I would put on this roster. He’d get the nod over Stockton due to athleticism and scoring ability, and over Deron Williams due to a greater ability to create for those around him.
[SG] Kobe Bryant (2012) – Kobe would essentially replace Larry Bird. He brings the same type of prestige as a top 10 player in NBA history who is past his prime, though far less so than Bird was in 1992. He would still get a ton of playing time and probably would get Bird’s captain’s spot.
[SF] Scottie Pippen (1992) – He’d get a spot as a guy who can take a back seat to other stars and as arguably the best defensive player on this team. Not to mention the championship pedigree.
[SF/PF] Carmelo Anthony (2012) – On a pure talent perspective, Melo has shown the ability to go punch for punch with guys like LeBron James and Kevin Durant. He has has a huge role on the U.S. team for years and his strength makes him a very attractive small/power forward hybrid.
[PF] Karl Malone (1992) – The “Mailman” is a top 5 power forward all time and this 2012 team would kill to have a front court player like Malone and he would easily still have a spot on this super team.
[C] Patrick Ewing (1992) – A star in his prime would man-handle many of the big men in today’s NBA. Plus you need a backup center and him and Tyson Chandler are not comparable.
So that’s my team with a final count of 7 dreamers and 5 of today’s players, so sorry Chuck you’re wrong. Of course you could argue for the 11 hall of famers (cough… Christian Laettner) on the dream team to get a spot, but I believe that my team makes sense as a collection of players.
Thanks for reading and follow me on twitter @Alex_Rosenbaum and tell me what you think.