Thursday, August 21, 2008

Is The Redeem Team Better Than The 92' Dream Team!?!?

[Editor's Note: This post is completely sports related, and it's prolly borderline blasphemous to some. Consider yourself forewarned.]

I know I'm about to open a huge can of worms, but it just occurred to me this morning that what this year's Redeem Team is accomplishing is far more impressive than the 1992 Dream Team.

Pick yourselves off the floor and let me explain why.

Back in 1992, we sent the absolute best 11 players in the league, plus Christian Laettner, whom some might argue is the best college player evar. Note, I said best college player.

Just peep this roster.

Charles Barkley of the Philadelphia 76ers
Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics
Clyde Drexler of the Portland Trail Blazers
Patrick Ewing of the New York Knicks
Earvin "Magic" Johnson of the Los Angeles Lakers
Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls
Christian Laettner of Duke University
Karl Malone of the Utah Jazz
Chris Mullin of the Golden State Warriors
Scottie Pippen of the Chicago Bulls
David Robinson of the San Antonio Spurs
John Stockton of the Utah Jazz
With the exception of Laettner (who barely played), every member of this team is either in, or will soon be in, the NBA Hall of Fame. Jordan is considered the best player evar. Johnson is the gold standard for PG's. Stockton is the silver standard. Malone revolutionized the power forward position. Barkley is the best player under 6-4 to ever lace up. Pippen became the prototype for small forwards. Bird is Bird. Mullin is one of the best shooters to ever lace up. Drexler did his thing. Ewing and The Admiral are among the 50 best players ever. Laettner did one heckuva job fetching donuts.

These players were the best in the world at the time, let alone the best in the league. I would have definitely bet online for them. Only Isaiah Thomas (politricks) and Hakeem Olajuwon (not yet a US citizen) were the only truly elite NBA players excluded from this team. It was the creme de la creme. The Dream Team rolled over foes by an average of 43.8 points a game, and never even called a timeout.

This year's Redeem Team is still a couple of games shy of the gold, but given their redemptive drubbing of Australia (whom they only beat by 11 just a week ago) on Wednesday, it's hard to see them losing to anybody. They are winning by an average of 32ppg as I write this.

It's roster is impressive, but probably not as impressive as the Original Dream Team.
Carlos Boozer of the Utah Jazz
Jason Kidd of the Dallas Mavericks
Lebron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers
Deron Williams of the Utah Jazz
Michael Redd of the Milwaukee Bucks
Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat
Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers
Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic
Chris Bosh of the Toronto Raptors
Chris Paul of the New Orleans Hornets
Tayshaun Prince of the Detroit Pistons
Carmelo Anthony of the Denver Nuggets
It's hard to tell these sorts of things so early, but player for player, this is probably not as star studded a team as the 92' squad. Bryant, Wade, Paul, and James are MVP caliber players, but you can't really say that yet for any of the other players. Prince isn't even an all star. Redd will not be Hall of Famer, and Bosh may not be either. Anthony is one DUI away from being a Clipper. Kidd is toast. Howard is showing his Shaq-like limitations. Williams and Boozer are good, but nobody is readying a place in Springfield for either yet. And some great NBA players like Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Elton Brand, Joe Johnson, Allen Iverson, Tyson Chandler, Amare Stoudemire, Tracy McGrady, Marcus Camby, etc. are back home. We could have sent a better team.

So, why in the ham sammich am I suggesting this team might be better than the 92' squad? Simple: The level of competition.

Back in 92', few of the foreign teams had legit NBA players. Germany had Detlef Schrempf, who was a 6th man for the Sonics. Lithuania had then-current Golden State Warrior reserve Šarūnas Marčiulionis and eventual Blazer Arvydas Sabonis. Croatia had five current or future NBA players in Dražen Petrović, Toni Kukoč, Dino Radja, Stojko Vranković, and Žan Tabak. Petrović died before he made a huge NBA impact. Toni Kukoč went on to a respectable NBA career. The other guys were pioneers in the art of weedcarrying excellent luggage handlers.

This year, seemingly every opponent has 2-3 solid NBA players. China has the NBA's best big man in Yao Ming, budding star Yi Jianlian, Lakers rookie Sun Yue, and NBA yet Wang Zhizhi. Germany has Clippers star Chris Kaman and recent NBA MVP Dirk Nowitzki. Greece has recent NBA players Vasileios Spanoulis, Antonis Fotsis, Andreas Glyniadakis, and Clippers draftee Sofoklis Schortsanitis. Spain has Lakers all-star big man Pau Gasol, Blazers rookie Rudy Fernandez, recent NBA players Raul Lopez, Juan Carlos Navarro, and Jorge Garbajosa, Raptors starting PG Jose Calderon, Grizzlies rookie Marc Gasol, and teen sensation (and likely #1 pick in next year's draft) Ricky Rubio. Australia has Bucks' center and recent #1 overall pick Andrew Bogut. Argentina, Lithuania, Croatia, and Russia have more NBA players than I've got time and space to list here.

But each and every one of these teams has been completely obliterated by the Redeem Team. Every single one.

I'm not saying the original Dream Team wouldn't have rolled over these teams with ease, they probably would have won by even more, but there's no way of knowing. And let's not forget, in addition to playing vastly inferior opponents, the Dream Team had the whole fear/star factor at play. It was common for opposing teams to be in total awe of Team USA and ask for photos, autographs, and jerseys after, before, and sometimes even during games. No such thing is happening for the Redeem Team, since they already play most of their opponents during the regular season. Their foes are getting thrashed, but they ain't scurred. Many of them have beaten Team USA before.

I suspect many of you will tell me I'm smoking for going out on a limb and saying this, but I do actually believe this year's team's accomplishment is more impressive than the Dream Team. That doesn't necessarily mean this year's Redeem Team is necessarily a better team that the 92' squad, so please, spare me the comments. I am emphatically not calling this a better team, despite this title's post. But when you consider all the factors, and the net result, you'd be hard convincing me that what these guys are doing isn't as awe inspiring, if not greater.

Question: Assuming you've watched both teams in action, am I too far out of bounds in suggesting that this year's Redeem Team is just as impressive, if not more so than the Original Dream Team? Which squad would win a Best of Seven series in a theoretical head to head match up? Would you like some of what I've been smoking?

USA Basketball Wiki [Wikipedia]

21 AverageComments™:

the uppity negro said...

yeah, i'm with you on this one. The reason why the Redeem Team is better But, I would be interested to see how the two teams would go head for head.

Personally, I'ma side with the Dream Team--I just think they were a better clutch team of players, but maybe I'm smoking something of my own.

Lemme try what you got.

SingLikeSassy said...

First, let me say, I'm not into sports. At all. Now, with that said, I give the net to the Dream Team. Here's how I came to that decision:

On that second list I recognized some, but not most of the names.

However, I know EVERY name on the dream team list, know what they look like and can give you a little tidbit about them (hometown, college). The kinda hype that propels your name past the diehard sports fans, the regular sports fan and over to the huh, what game, who's playing again crowd?, does not happen for mediocre players. (I don't think. Remember I'm a nonsports person.)

So there you have it. My unscientific, irrational and illogical response to your question. LOL!

ebonygentleman said...

Dream Team by a MILE. Jordan would never let that team get into close contests with any other squad.

Jordan's killer instinct is/was so severe only Tiger Woods and a prime Muhammad Ali can compare.

My bud and I were talking about this tonight.

Jordan, Magic, Barkley, Malone & Ewing? Good Lord!

Think of it this way, nearly all of the Dream Team players appeared in an NBA Final Series.

Case closed.

EG

Ciara said...

And some great NBA players like Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Elton Brand, Joe Johnson, Allen Iverson, Tyson Chandler, Amare Stoudemire, Tracy McGrady, Marcus Camby, etc. are back home. We could have sent a better team.
^^^^

Amen to that, especially Joe Johnson. The knock on the '04 squad was that they didn't have any shooters or players that are accustomed to get 15 and 6 every night. The "Redeem Team" is built the exact same way as the '04 squad. The only shooter you have on the team in Redd but he's a 25 a night guy.

The Dream Team was perfect. You had shooters, pure defensive players, true PGs, guys used to playing a role. These dudes on the '08 squad are used to being the top dudes. That's why you have guys struggling to find their place on this team.

The Dream Team would dominate every and often

ebw-educated black woman said...

EG is right. Although you do have a point in mentioning the psychological factor. Any team would have been intimidated by the Dream Team based on the names on the roster alone.
Now can we get a post on Usain Bolt?

TalentedTenth said...

part of the reason i am impressed with the redeem team is because they are doing just that...redeeming themselves. with the dream team, it was pretty much hands down that they would win it. it wasn't just because of the caliber of players on the team, but part of it had to do with the lack of skill on the other teams. international play wasn't as skilled back then as it is now (depsite the fact that the redeem team is winning by decent margins). another reason i am impressed is because the redeem team is able to play together and egos seem to be in check. with the dream team (with the exception of christian), all the players knew where they stood in terms of their style of play and their ability. the egos weren't as bad then. but with today's players, they think they deserve the sun and the moon for what they can offer a team in the league. but i am not seeing those type of egos with the redeem team. they are actually playing as a team instead of individuals (despite the fact there are quite a few standpoint players).

now could the redeem team beat the dream team...i don't know. i think the dream team has a better basketball mind (if that makes any sense). not to say that the redeem team are a bunch of novices, but i think the "mind" of basketball coupled with the physicality of the dream team would make it very difficult for the redeem team in a head to head match-up. the redeem team although playing well in the olympics are still making some mistakes that younger players make, that the older players would not.

well that's my story, and i'm sticking to it :-)

Vee (Scratch) said...

Larry Bird, Earvin "Magic" Johnson", and Michael Jordan. NBA MVP Champions.

Scottie Pippen, David Robinson, and Clyde Drexler. Champions. With Hakeem and Isaiah it would have been more deadly. Make no mistake about it, those two were champions.

That squad was and is the prototype that all future teams will be compared to. You don't have to sell defense to Jordan, Bird, Johnson or Barkley.

One of the reason why these guys are the ReDeem team is because they took defense for granted and got rocked last time around. Wade, Anthony, Boozer, and Lebron were on the squad. Note, how many free-throws did Wade get?? I bet you not as much as he did during the Heat's last championship campaign. They also had great veterans Iverson and Duncan. I think the approach of USA Basketball and the coaching is also at fault. The 2004 loss to Puerto Rico (92-73) was hiliarious. Do you remember Puerto Rico's point guard?!? Running through the entire USA squad!!

Sorry, I don't accept the notion that it is always assumed that so-and-so team will automatically win. I think people fail to understand that work Jordan, Magic, and Bird put into preparation learning the international game. All U.S. basketball team were expected favorites, but U.S. players were way too high on their hype.

And just because there isn't enough press on a number of international players back then or they don't play for the National Basketball Association does not mean the level of competition did not exist.

Theoretical match-up? Dream Team hands down. I'm not saying that because of individual match-ups, I'm talking about overall team effort.

Just my 2-cents.
Oh yeah, just to be fair and balanced, Kobe(3), Wade(1), Tayshaun(1) are champions. Personally I think Kobe Bryant is the only player on the squad with true killer-instincts.

WNG said...

I'm with you on this one but you left out one thing - this squad is playing much more like a TEAM than even the orig dream team did and def more than any other team has since. They've been playing together every summer for the past three years and have made a commitment to the team and the system.
In a matchup between 92 and 08 I think 92 would probably win, but if the 92 team was playing the international teams of today they would probably have the same respect for the 2008 Redeem Team that you and I do.

MissJay said...

Well apparently the Redeem team has good team work skills. But even though I'm not a huge sports fan, I think the Dream Team may have won by even more points if it were them at the Olympics this year. No as far as a match up between them and the Redeem team? Dream team hands down I think. All extremely strong players on the Dream team.

spool32 said...

I have to agree that the field of competition is tighter than it was, but here's another factor to consider:

Might it be true that ALL the top Olympic teams are suffering the same problems that the '04 USA team did? With so many NBA players around, perhaps some of these other national squads are having the exact same problems with differing rules, lack of cohesion, lack of defensive focus, etc. that plagued the '04 team.

For my part, the Dream Team was partly so amazing because for years kids talked about "wouldn't it be so awesome if Jordan and Pippen and Magic and Bird could all be on the same team?" Then it happened, and the result was incredible.

Head-to-head? Dream Team runs away with it in 4, Jordan in particular would show the current NBA what it means to be a team player who can also explode and transform a game, and Kobe would be out there asking for a Dream Team autographed ball during the free throws.

Tomas S. said...

I'd have to agree with ya! Your reasons are spot-on. The level of competiion is higher now, AND we didn't send the Best of the Best this time around.
Jordan, Barkley, Bird, Johnson, Clyde, et al. C'mon, these guys were B-ball Gods! That's why they were a DREAM team!
The ReDeem Team has some stars, and some future Hall of Famers, but as stated, there are some far superior players watching from home.

Vee (Scratch) said...

SPORTS NERD
Just curious, I know that many sports commentators would like to say that the level of competition is not what it was back then.

By what criteria are you judging the level of international competition in 1992 compared to 2008? By how many solid NBA players they have? Or is there something else that is common knowledge that I'm missing?

The '88 Olympics features non-NBA players in the great Arvydas Sabonis, Drazen Petrovic, Toni Kukoc and Vlade Divac. Players that the NBA clamored for with decent contracts.

Yes I know the U.S. has a long developed college, professional and national basketball program but I wouldn't easily dismiss the those international players as sub-par. After all they did hand the U.S. a loss in 1988, against Mitch Richmond, Stacey Augmon, Dan Majerle, Danny Manning, and David Robinson. Robinson being a future champion.

TalentedTenth said...

@ vee...
i don't think we are writing them (international teams) off entirely. i agree that many international teams back in the day had some excellent players (as you mentioned), but it terms of whole teams...that didn't seem to be the case. and for the most part, the criteria that is being used is the winning margin and the evidence of total team package versus one or two stand out players. that's just my opinion...

AverageBro said...

Boy, so many replies, so little time. Here we go...

@ Ciara

I don't really think Average Joe Johnson belongs on the team, but I had to throw that one in just for you. Redd and Joe are basically dupicates.

@ EBW

I missed the boat on Bolt. Sorry. I haven't watched much other than bball and gymnastics.

@ EG

Think of it this way, nearly all of the Dream Team players appeared in an NBA Final Series.

True, but untrue. In 92', only a handful of these guys had sniffed the Finals. Mullin didn't make until he was a Pacer reserve years later. Robinson, Ewing, Stockton and Malone were a few years away.

If that's the criteria, then you can't write the career obituaries on guys like Melo and Paul just yet.

@ Vee

Just my 2-cents.
Oh yeah, just to be fair and balanced, Kobe(3), Wade(1), Tayshaun(1) are champions. Personally I think Kobe Bryant is the only player on the squad with true killer-instincts.


I agree. Lebron may be approaching that territory, but only Kobe is there.

@ WNG

I'm with you on this one but you left out one thing - this squad is playing much more like a TEAM than even the orig dream team did and def more than any other team has since.

Agree with that too. This team is probably more of a team out of necessity, but they're definitely a more cohesive unit. The Original Dream Team was more like a group of Goodwill ambassadors.

@ TalTenth

with the dream team (with the exception of christian), all the players knew where they stood in terms of their style of play and their ability. the egos weren't as bad then.

I disagree. If we wanna talk about egos, let's not forget that Jordan selfishly got Freaky Zeke withheld from the team, and pulled that BS stunt with the towel to honor his Nike contract.

Those dudes were hardly saints. There were some petty egos at play there too.

@ spool

Might it be true that ALL the top Olympic teams are suffering the same problems that the '04 USA team did? With so many NBA players around, perhaps some of these other national squads are having the exact same problems with differing rules, lack of cohesion, lack of defensive focus, etc. that plagued the '04 team.

No. These other teams are by and large the same squad year after year, and their countries act as feeder systems that replenish them with new talent to keep the whole thing going (ie: Ricky Rubio). They have a huge advantage in the area of cohesion. These guys play together every offseason.

What this year has proven is that when the USA sends a real squad, as opposed to some glorified AAU team, there's no way we lose to these other countries. The gap has closed, but not that much.

@ Tomas S

Thanks for the co-sign.

@ Vee (2nd comment)

By what criteria are you judging the level of international competition in 1992 compared to 2008? By how many solid NBA players they have? Or is there something else that is common knowledge that I'm missing?

Yes, I am judging the level of comp solely by the quality of NBA players and prospects these other teams have.

There WERE Euros in the NBA in the early 90's, but for the most part, these guys blew chunks. Over the past decade, these other countries (China for example) have taken the time and money to invest in and build their national teams. The quality of competition is WAAAAY better now. Just look at the percentage of foreigners in the NBA today, vs 20 years ago.

That 88 Team!?!? Uhhh, let's not go there. They were still children (albeit big ones) playing 30 year old men. A college "Dream Team" of Tyler Hansbrough and Co. would get their clocks cleaned in today's Olympics. They wouldn't even qualify.

cjames30082 said...

It's hard to tell but you couldn't necessarily compare the two. The Redeem team is more athletic than the Dream Team. Who knows what kind of matchup it would cause. Basically the game changed after Micheal Jordan. At the time there was only one Micheal Jordan but in todays game there are SERVERAL Jordan-like players.

Plus the DREAM TEAM was old as Hell. Magic and Bird, Clyde were up there. Jordan couldn't really shoot at that time. Christian Laetener stunk, Scottie hmmm.

Let's match the Dream team witht the Redeeem team shall we. Let's start with the easy one.

Christian Latener - Tayshaun Prince: Advangtage: Push
John Stockton - Chris Paul: Advantage: Paul
Magic Johnson - Jason Kidd: Advantage: Johnson
Clyde Drexler - Micheal Redd:
Advantage: Drexler
Micheal Jordan - Kobe Bryant: Advantage: Jordan
Chris Mullin - Dewayne Wade: Advantage: Wade
Larry Bird - Chris Bosh: Advantage: Bird
Karl Malone - Carlos Boozer: Advantage: Malone
Scottie Pippen - LeBron James: Advantage: James
David Robinson - Dwight Howard: Advantage: Howard
Charles Barkely - Carmelo Anthony: Advantage: Barkely

Since the Dream Team had one additional Big man and the Redeem team had one additional point guard it wasn't quite one to one. The remaining match up is Patrick Ewing - Deron Williams......not quite a matchup.

Have said all of that about the redeem team i don't see how they could win.

Inquisitive Mind said...

Dream Team by a mile. They had THE Alpha male in Jordan (no one was going to cross him), they had guys who wanted to win something (Barkley) because they knew that they weren't going to win in the NBA with Mike around, and they played like a team. The basketball IQ of the Dream Team was off the charts. Guys that could play without the ball in their hands and guys that learned the game in college. When you mention the Dream Team, most if not all went at least 3 years in college. We've got guys on the redeem team that, in my humble opinion are still learning the 'team' game. (No that wasn't a slap in the face to Kobe).

TalentedTenth said...

@ AB...

i guess i'm looking at egos in a "relative" sense. i think most NBA players smell themselves; thinking they are the ish. but jordan aside, i still don't think the egos were as bad then as egos have become in the NBA. i'm definitely not saying one team has egos and the other does not. i guess i'm looking at the relative badness and intolerable nature of said egos.

Huntdaddy said...

AB I have one of your tshirts but I did not see on the blog where I can by a $20 Bag of that oh-wee you been smoking...it must be da bomb because nucka you trippin.....

First off, the Dream Team is legendary and untouchable by any standard to the Redeem Team...nuff said.

Secondly, the main reason that Dream Team rolled over teams (other than the awe factor) is DEFENSE....Man, those cats locked everyone down for about 15-20 minutes each game and then conducted a layup line on offense...that's how they beat everyone by 40 pts.

Next is leadership....man, the Dream Team had some of the most competitive cats in the history of sports....ask any of the Dream Teamers and they said the best thang about being on the team were the practices...they tried to bust each others asses in practice from day 1....these guys were engineered to win and they had a winner's work ethic to prove it. These guys were the best but they knew that greatness was not a rubber stamp.....

The Redeemers are great players and contrary to some of the past fake ass US Teams, they are putting in their work to PROVE they are the best. Still, they don't shoot as well or defend as well as the Dream Teamers. Fortunately, Kobe, LeBron, D-Wade, and Chris Paul are killahs and great leaders. Equally fortunate for them is that even with the bball gap closing, they are still heads, shoulders, waist, and knees above the rest of the world.....

Again, I will say that NBA players should not be eligible for the Olympics....let's let some of our very talented college and development league players get the chance to represent our country in the spirit of competition that the Olympics are supposed to stand for. Until then, I will be cheering for an international team to pop future US Teams.....

And that was some bullsh*t not having Isiaih Thomas on the Dream Team...but then again, he seems to have earned the ommission....

AverageBro said...

@ huntdaddy

No way we should go back to sending collegiates. Why? The competition is grown a$$ed men. Why fight fire with a bic lighter?

They send their best, we send ours. Simple.

Vindindy said...

AvgBro, the original Dream Team would whoop the redeem teams behinds up and down the court, to the concession stand, and into the parking lot.

Huntdaddy said...

BEGIN HUNTDADDY RANT

AB - I could not disagree with you more. Dude, there is nothing positive that comes out of the NBAers playing in the Olympics....the NBAers can win 1000 straight games and if/when they lose one funky game, it's like all hope is lost...BULLSH*T. There is nothing memorable about the NBA players in the Olympics...nothing...

Do we really need NBA players to play against Ethiopia or Belarus...come on man, that is just plain dumb....

Now, go back to some of our best Olympic moments...it has always been when the Americans overcame a HUGE obstacle to win gold....How about the Miracle on Ice when the US Hockey Team beat Russia...how about when that American Wrestler beat that Russian guy who hadn't lost in like 10 years...or something like that....THAT is what the Olympics should be about. How about that come from behind win or Michael Phelps in the 100 Meter Butterfly or the 4X100 Medley....man, that was top dog...

And please don't act like our best college players are some scrubs...them cats can play and they could use the extra experience...With some great coaching, hard practice, and a desire to win, I bet the Americans could field a College Team that could be a gold metal contender....Sh*t, there are only 3-4 tough teams anyway...We'd have a great shot with our college players AND the games from start to finish would be much more exciting....

Wouldn't it be GREAT to see College Players from other teams playing together....North Carolina cats and Maryland....Michigan and Ohio State...Could you imagine Laettner (who was a Beast in College) with C.Webb and Juwan Howard....Hurley running point with Mark Macon at the 2 spot...not that's something to watch....

Watch the NBA All Star Game if you get off on Lebron playing with D. Wade....

And tell the truth AB, the ONLY reason to watch Olympic Basketball is to see if one of the International Team beats them....there is no other reason to watch because the overwhelming expectation is that the Americans are suppose to win by 50 pts every game...where is the excitement there? Where's the drama? Where's the last minute possession and the winning shot....Hell, everyone gets their panties in a bunch if the Americans win by less that 20 points...WTF?!?!?!

I guess at the end of my angry rant, I feel strongly that the Olympics should be 90% for amateur athletes...and since the US has this huge farm league called the NCAA Div I and most of the world does not, then we should draw our Olympic talent from there....As it relates to bball, wouldn't be better to give some NCAA Ballers another chance to impress the scouts in the NBA...or even impress some world teams and play overseas. The Olympics are about the spirit of competition and a once in a lifetime opportunity...why give that rare thing to a bunch of millionaires that are already at the top of their field??

/ANGRY HUNTDADDY RANT

You still my n*gga and my favorite blogger!

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