Martin's Pick: Dream Team in 7
I think it's fair to assume that this year's team is the more athletic of the two. '12 is probably faster in the open court and more versatile at the guard and forward positions. Still, I think the Dream Team was athletic enough to accommodate match ups. I could see Mike, Scottie, and Clyde on the floor at the same time for instance. They would probably have to keep just one of their bigs (Robinson, Ewing, Malone, Barkley) on the floor as opposed to two. All four of the guys in those parentheses could score on Tyson Chandler, but would be at a clear disadvantage defending his substitution (Durant, Iguodala). On the other hand, the Dream Team could expose the glaring lack of inside presence on the '12 team.
(Side bar: I think Magic & Larry would play limited spot minutes against '12. Wouldn't be able to keep up with the pace, let alone guard any of '12's players at their position.)
It's not fair to say '12 is small, but by NBA standards they certainly play small. Made up of guards and swing forwards, LeBron, Durant, and Carmelo can often find themselves at center when Tyson Chandler is not on the floor. Blake Griffin could have helped on the glass and guarding bigger guys, but even he's not a true big man. While '12 does has players who are willing rebounders, (Westbrook, Iguodala, Carmelo, LeBron, etc.) it's no secret they are still short-handed on the glass. Guarding the Dream Team in the half court would be difficult for them. '12 prays on quick, forced shots that turn into transition opportunities, where they are most lethal. The Dream Team had some of the best half court weapons to this day. Sure we haven't seen the best of this '12 team yet, but we know enough about their roster to know what their best should look like.
At the end of the day, Michael Jordan would be the best player on that floor. No one on '12 could stop him. They could try switching Kobe, Westbrook, Iguodala, or LeBron on him to tire him out, but they couldn't stop him. My number one reason for picking the Dream Team: give me Michael Jordan against anyone on the '12 roster. While '12 has the quicker and more versatile team, the Dream Team's grit, physical and mental toughness would bring them a Game 7 victory. '12 would win the first game as a statement (we're here), followed by an illustrious adjustment Game 2 from Chuck Daly. Neither team would beat the other twice in a row until after Game 6. Tied 3-3. Game 7 goes down to the wire, and in the wire, give me 29-year-old Michael Jordan against anyone.
Janay's Pick: Dream Team in 6Simple and clear, I just don't see Michael Jordan and company letting this series go seven games. This series was won once they announced the roster. '12 would definitely give the Dream Team a great series, but 29 year old Mike and the strength inside would be too much.
Robinson, Barkley, Ewing, and Malone were phenomenal big men who would exploit '12 each and every game. Chandler may be a defensive force in today's game, but has never faced the talent, feisty attitude, and rebounding ability the Dream Team has. I give the outside match up to '12 due to their athleticism and quickness.They have the ability to win a couple games with the core they have. I just don't see Jordan letting this go seven games. He's never played in a Game 7 his whole career, and I don't see him starting in this series.
Coach K would have to make very important decisions for match ups and substitutions, but would it be enough? I give every advantage to the Dream Team except at the point guard position. I see '12 winning Game 1 in a statement game with Dream Team winning Game 2 rather easily. Game 3 comes down to the wire with '92 pulling it out. Game 4 is a little shaky for me in a must win situation but it goes to Dream Team. They have been in must win situations their whole careers, playoff game after playoff game, their execution gets them through. Game 5 will go to '12 showing a ready to not lay down attitude. Then Game 6 Jordan puts the icing on the cake and eats it as well.
(Scottie was way out of line saying they would win by 25, but they would win)
Tommy's Pick: '12 in 7
Even though this is an argument we would never be able to settle unless some type of time machine was created, you just can’t help but wonder the outcome. At first thought, I'd say the '92 Dream Team simply because of all the Hall of Famers. But as I love to be contrary to popular opinion, I sit back and think to myself, this is a 20 year gap we are talking about. The game of basketball has vastly evolved since 1992. Not only from the USA perspective, even though I will get into that shortly, but look at the competition we are facing now.
While watching ESPN First Take this morning, Steven A. Smith brought up a great point. He could only name 3 foreign players that were part of the NBA game that the US faced in '92; Arvydas Sabonis from Lithuania, Detlef Schrempf from Germany, and Toni Kukoc from Croatia, and there were probably a couple more if that. Today we have guys like Manu Ginobli, Luis Scola, Andres Nocioni, Carlos Delfino, and those four international NBA players are on the same Olympic team. I could keep going with the Tony Parkers, Nicholas Batum from France, the Gasol brothers, Ibaka, and if not due to a knee injury Ricky Rubio from Spain. But you see what I’m getting at here, the competition has improved monumentally. The numbers of players from overseas in the NBA has tripled since the Dream Team played. That’s not me taking a shot at the greatness of any of those players. They won games by 40 plus points, so that’s nothing to overlook. But on the other side, neither is this 2012 squad we have representing the US.
The first argument I always hear is this '12 squad doesn’t have the height to compete with the '92 squad. Looking at it closer, the '92 squad had seven footers Patrick Ewing and David Robinson, but only one of them started and that was usually Ewing. I give that clear advantage to the '92 squad, even though the 12’s only seven footer and reigning Defensive Player of the Year Tyson Chandler would battle end to end the entire game. Now for the rest of the guards and forwards, even though both squads experimented with multiple starting units, the '92 team mostly went with Magic (6’8), MJ (6’6), Bird (6’9), Barkley (6’6) and Ewing (7’1). For the 12 squad we got CP3 (6’0), Kobe (6’6), Lebron (6’8), Durant (6’10), Chandler (7ft). Aside from the glaring height advantage at point guard, I see it to be pretty even. Even with that height advantage at the lead guard spot this wasn’t the same Magic from the “Showtime” Lakers, this was a Magic going through his last hoorah, a Magic that didn’t even play in the most recent NBA season. Guarding a much younger CP3 would be a match up issue. You’d have Kobe and MJ going at it, LeBron and Charles, a 23-year-old freak of nature Kevin Durant going against a much older Larry Bird with an ailing back. So as I’m analyzing this match up further and further I’m starting to think that I like this 2012 squad over the Dream Team. Maybe because I was only 4 years old when the '92 squad actually played and this is what I’m seeing now, but hear me out.
We can even go further down the line-ups and analyze the benches. For the '92 squad; Pippen (6’7), Malone (6’8), Mullen (6’7), Drexler (6’7), Robinson (7’1), Stockton (6’0) and only played 4 games due to injury, Laetner (6’11). With the '12 squad we got; Deron Williams (6’3), Melo (6’8), Andre Iguodala (6’6), Kevin Love (6’10), Westbrook (6’3), Harden (6’5), Anthony Davis (6’11). So when I'm hearing the argument of size, outside of Robinson and Ewing who rarely if ever were on the floor at the same time, the size advantage is pretty much even. In some match ups it favors the '12 squad with 6’10 Durant, 6’8 Lebron and a 6’8 Melo who are essentially guards that can play the 2-5 positions, well 1-5 if you're talking about Lebron.
Now to answer the question, who would win in a seven game series? First, lets be clear. The '92 squad still had the G.O.A.T who would be the best player on the floor every game, but I’m going to step out on a limb and say that the 2012 squad would take this series in every bit of seven games. I was going to say less than seven, but for the sake of me sounding crazy and losing your attention, I’ll stick with seven. 2012’s speed and versatility would be too much for the '92 squad to handle in the end. The reason I believe it would go seven games is because of the physicality of the '92 squad which would make a few if not all of these games ugly drag out games where MJ closes the 2012 squad out in the end. There would be runs back and forth for both squads but none that would be insurmountable. Even in the final game of the series I believe it would go down to the wire. MJ puts '92 up by 1, but with 3 seconds left on the clock after a time out from '12, they draw up a play from half court where they set up none other than “the black”………..man named Kevin Durant who puts in a walk off three pointer in the face of Scottie Pippen, sending the Dream team packing. The MVP of the series being LeBron James for his defensive assignments and basically doing what we have now come to see LeBron do in the this recent NBA finals. So there you have it. I’ve chosen my side. So let's embrace debate. Do you agree or disagree? Either way I thank you for reading. Til next time and God bless.