1992 vs. 2012 USA Basketball. Who Wins?

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Photo By H. Darr Beiser, USA TODAY

There’s been much smack talk from the 2012 U.S. Olympic basketball team, saying they would beat the 1992 “dream team”. As far as the fans go, opinions seem to be split along age lines. Younger sports fans believe that the 2012 team would win, while most fans over thirty believe the dream team would win. Today, Lebron James admitted that the dream team was better, but said that his 2012 team could beat them “one time”.
 
Well, yes, anyone can beat anyone one time, potentially, but what about a seven-game series? Could the 2012 team actually beat their classic counterparts in seven games?
 
Looking at it objectively, the problem for 2012 might be on offense, because the ’92 team was stronger defensively. The 1992 coach, Chuck Daly won two NBA championships and did it with defense.
 
How do they stack up? Let’s look…
 
1. Point Guard
 
Chris Paul vs. Magic Johnson
 
Johnson was actually retired when the Olympics look place in ’92. I think Johnson could post up Paul and make it very difficult for him to defend Magic, but Magic was a bit long in the tooth.
 
Edge: Even
 
2. Shooting Guard:
 
Kobe Bryant vs. Michael Jordan
 
At first glance, you might think this is close, but in 1992, Jordan averaged about one steal and five points more than Bryant did last season. Bryant is 33 years old.
 
Edge: 1992
 
3. Small Forward:
 
LeBron James vs. Larry Bird/Scottie Pippen
 
Oh my, again at first glance you think, hmm…but Bird was 35, and Pippen was no James.
 
Edge: 2012
 
4. Power Forward:
 
Kevin Durant vs. Charles Barkley
 
Now this one is TOUGH. The problem for Durant is Barley’s physicality. Durant might out-score Barkley but Sir Charles would dominate on the boards.
 
Edge: 1992
 
5. Center:
 
Tyson Chandler vs. Patrick Ewing
 
Although Tyson Chandler is a great defender, Patrick Ewing is legendary.
 
Edge: 1992
 
6. The Bench:
 
Wade, D. Williams, Westbrook, Harden, Love, Anthony, Iguodala, Davis vs. Stockton, Drexler, Bird, Malone, Mullin, Robinson, Laettner
 
Wow, this is no contest. Apologies to the 2012 team but I can’t go against all those hall-of-famers sitting on that bench.
 
Edge: 1992
 
7. Coaches Chuck Daly vs. Mike Krzyzewski
 
Did I just spell Krzyzewski right? Daly won two NBA championships and mastered in defense. This is another one to ponder, because coach K is a legend, with four national championships, and is the winningest coach in major men’s basketball history.
 
Edge: 2012
 
So I score it 4-2-1 in favor of the 1992 team. That looks an awful lot like James had said, that they could beat the dream team once. I agree with Lebron James, but I’ll give them one more. Two wins to 2012, and the 1992 dream team wins 4-2.
 
What do you think?
 
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