Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Dream Team: 1992 vs. 2012

So I have seen so much about this whole Dream Team issue and who is the better team between 1992 and 2012. First Kobe started talking shit about how they are more athletic and how the 1992 team was not in their prime. Then Barkley and Jordan fired back saying how they are smarter and most of the people on the 1992 were in their prime. Then the media got a whiff of this and ran wild like a Kenyan in a marathon. First of all, I don't understand how its news when Kobe Bryant says his team would win. No shit you morons! What did you expect? Did you think the Black Mamba would think or say anything different? More importantly, do you want your olympic leader to have any other attitude besides that? The same goes for Jordan and Barkley. All of these guys are the ultimate competitors so even if they had me and you as their  best teammates, they would think their team was the best. So let's dismiss all of the hype and talk about basketball. Smart basketball. Logical basketball. Let me break this bitch down by asking the right questions!

Question 1: Which team has the most superstars in their prime? 
Answer: The 1992 Team (Sorry Kobe but you wrong on this one)

Read the question again. Notice I didn't ask which team has the most PLAYERS in their prime? I asked about SUPERSTARS in their prime. There is a difference. For example, the 2012 has Andre Iguodala. He is in his prime. But what difference does that make? He's still not better than the 1992 Magic who was not in his prime. Same can be said of Christian Laettner and Tyson Chandler. So the real question is which team has the most superstars in their prime? Here is the breakdown:

1992 - Prime Superstars (9) 
1. David Robinson 
2. Karl Malone
3. Charles Barkley
4. Michael Jordan
5. Patrick Ewing
6. Scottie Pippen
7. Clyde Drexler
8. John Stockton
9. Chris Mullin
The others: Magic and Bird on the back end of their career. Laettner not a superstar.

2012 - Prime/Entering their prime Superstars (7.5)
1. Lebron James
2. Kevin Durant (Entering his prime)
3. Chris Paul
4. Kevin Love (Entering his prime)
5. Carmelo Anthony
6. Russel Westbrook (Entering his prime)
7. Deron Williams
7.5 Blake Griffin (He can go either way depending how he decides to approach his career. If he wants to be great and work on his flaws then he's not in his prime. If he doesn't, then we have pretty much seen his ceiling.)
The others: Let's not kid ourselves. Kobe is nowhere close to his prime despite the numbers. Tyson Chandler and Andre Iguodala are not superstars. James Harden not a superstar. Maybe he will be in the future.

Question 2: Which team has better athletes?
Answer: The 2012 Team. But it's closer than you think. 

Every time someone thinks about the 1992 team, they think about an aging Bird with a messed up back lying around in practicing and barely playing. Or a fat Barkely or aging Magic. But that wasn't the case. There were some crazy athletes on that team. Michael Jordan and Clyde Drexler in their prime were as good of an athlete as anybody in the history of the league. David Robinson. Are you kidding me? He was easily a top 5 big man of all time in terms of athletic ability. Karl Malone's body was that of a Greek god. With all that said, the 2012 team is just loaded with athletic ability. Lebron James is the greatest athlete in NBA history. Some people who would argue with that may throw in names like Russell Westbrook and Blake Griffin, who are both on the team as well. Deron Williams is as quick and strong of a PG as there has ever been. Iguodala is a monster athlete as well. Even the players on this team that are not known for their athletic ability are pretty good athletes. (Kevin Durant/Carmelo Anthony)

Question 3: Which team has the smarter players?
Answer: The 1992 Team. And it's not even close. 

The players on the 1992 team are much smarter only because where they were at that point in their careers. All of the 1992 players (except Laettner) were in the middle of their career or on the back end. There was no one that was just starting off his career. So they had a bunch of years of experience. The 2012 team on the other hand, mostly has players that are in the middle of their career or on the earlier part of their career. They are still learning. Let's list all of the cerebral players. 1992 has Michael Jordan, David Robinson, Magic Johnson, John Stockton, Larry Bird who were popularly known as very smart players. Even the other players like Barkley, Malone, Pippen, Mullin, and Ewing were pretty smart and savvy veterans by the time 1992 rolled around. The 2012 team has Kobe, Chris Paul, and Kevin Love. Those are the only 3 players that are actually known for their basketball brains. But that doesn't mean this team is dumb. The other guys are pretty smart and young. They are just learning. By the time 2016 Olympics roll around, the answer to this question will probably be a tie. 

Question 4: WHO WINS IN A GAME??????
Answer: When is the game being played? Old school reffing style: 1992 team wins easily. Modern reffing style: 2012 team has a chance but 1992 still pulls it out.

Here is the deal. If we are just talking about pick up basketball without the sophisticated rules of the NBA game and no free throws/unlimited fouls like in street ball, then I think it's pretty much a toss up. Because the 1992 team would lose a lot of their advantages. Either team can win any given game. If you did a statistical simulation, and they played in this style an infinite amount of games, the 1992 team would win half and the 2012 team would win half. 

With that said, we are probably not talking about streetball here. We are talking about professional basketball players so we should have them playing a professional basketball game. And those have refs. And rules. And each era has a very separate and distinct way the game was officiated. So if we play in the 1992 team's era, were refs were much more lenient in terms of hard fouls, then the stronger more physical team is going to win easily. That is the 1992 team. They have 2 legitimate and dominant centers who are all-time greats in David Robinson and Patrick Ewing. Tyson Chandler is a good team defensive player, but there is no way in hell he can guard either one of those guys. The 2012 has no other center. Kevin Love and Blake Griffin would get eaten alive by both of those guys. The 1992 team also has very physical perimeter players like Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Clyde Drexler, Scottie Pippen. Every time guys like Lebron, CP3, Durant, Westbrook, and Deron enter the lane, those guys would try to dish out as much physical punishment as possible. Lebron and Kobe are the only ones that can withstand that kind of punishment. I haven't even mentioned Barkley and Malone yet, who were some of the most physical players in the history of the game. 

If we play by today's officiating style, the refs would not let the game get physical. Lebron would have a much easier day driving to the basket. And without fouling, I don't care how good those defenders on the 1992 team were. There is no stopping Lebron! No way. But the 1992 team can just as easily counter with Jordan or Barkley. The 2012 team would start out strong and hang in there but eventually, there is just way too much talent on the 1992 team to overcome. Most importantly, if the game was anywhere close to being undecided, the 1992 team has by far the best player and greatest closer in Michael Jordan. The game would come down to Michael Jordan vs. Kobe Bryant. (That is a whole another article in itself.) Kobe Bryant even in his prime is not better than Michael Jordan in his prime. So there is no way this 2012 Kobe Bryant would be able to handle the 1992 Michael Jordan. Kobe might still be able to put a few points up on young Jordan but 1992 Jordan would go ape shit on offense! There would be no stopping him. Close or not, the 1992 team pulls this one out no matter which way you look at it!

Thanks for reading!
Yours truly, 
The King of Nothing.

PS. I would just like to honor the 2008 Redeem Team. Personally, I think that is a much better team than the 2012 team and has a much better chance to compete with the 1992 team than the current 2012 team does. That team had a dominant big man in Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant in his prime, a great shooter in Michael Redd, and a game changer in Dwayne Wade in his prime. It didn't however, have Kevin Durant or athletes like Westbrook and Griffin. But I think Dwight's dominance, Kobe being younger, and Wade off the bench makes up for all of that.

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