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How Good Was 2010 Team USA?

Here's a question for you. Who wins, the 2008 Olympic team or the 1992 Dream team?

PG: Magic vs. Kidd
SG: Jordan vs. Kobe
SF: Bird vs. LeBron
PF: Barkley vs. Melo
C: Robinson vs. Dwight Howard

Man, that leaves Malone, Ewing, Pippen, Stockton on the bench. I don't think the '08 team would have a prayer.

speekeasy reply to Brian on Sep 14 at 4:03

92 Dream Team had some guys after their primes though. Bird was beat up with a bad back, Magic was old too. Barkley and Malone would proabably eat up Melo and Bosh. And David Robinson and Ewing would foul out or neutralize D. Howard. But if go with the 08' closing lineup of CP3, D-Wade, Kobe, Lebron, and Howard/Bosh (it'd have to be Howard) they could compete. Pippen and Jordan cause a ton of problems for Wade, Kobe , and Lebron with their D. '92 might struggle to keep Chris Paul and Deron Williams out of the lane with Magic and Stockton defending them though.

One thing you have to consider is what NBA rules they'd be playing with. Because if you could hand-check (which is the way it seems in FIBA) you'd have to make the Dream Team even bigger favorites because that would neutralize '08 team's quickness and expose their lack of a go-to post player.

Looking at all those rosters in a tourney I gotta say that 1996 team scares me. I think they could possibly take the Dream Team and definately the '08 squad. They have so much height and Shaq and Hakeem would abuse anyone down low. G-Hill and Pippen as your swingmen, Payton as a lock-down PG, Reggie Miller and Mitch Richmond as shooters, Penny Hardaway coming into his prime, and you still have Barkley, Malone, and Robinson. The '96 team is MJ away from being the best team in my opinion (and I think is pretty close without him).

Looking ahead, the 2012 London team is gonna be stacked and would give everyone a run for their money.

Right, if I were to rank the teams, it would be 1992 and 1996, then 2008. Because old and slow Shaq is fresh in our minds, we tend to forget (I do, at least) what a force of nature he was in his prime or even before his prime, as he was in 1994-96. And 1996 had many of the same players as 1992, plus prime Penny Hardaway and Gary Payton. A game between 1992 and 1996 would have been great to watch.

The 2008 team would be competitive on the perimeter but would have few answers on the inside for either 1992 or 1996. Barkley vs. Carmelo Anthony? Wow.

speekeasy on Sep 14 at 4:13

Two other questions:
What do you think of Fran Fraschilla's idea that all levels of basketball in the US go to a 24-second shot clock (or at least a 35 s)?
- I think it would be a great idea in the high-school game.

How did we end up with Richard Jefferson as the starting SF for the '04 Olympic team (not to mention Marbury as our 2)? Was it an injury thing, a dearth of talent (in between eras), or did guys just say no?

tk76 reply to speekeasy on Sep 14 at 8:41

If there was a 24 sec clock in HS then only 1 or 2 guys would ever touch the ball.

Yeah, I agree. I would like to see it in college, though. A deeper three-point line as well.

How did we end up with Richard Jefferson as the starting SF for the '04 Olympic team (not to mention Marbury as our 2)? Was it an injury thing, a dearth of talent (in between eras), or did guys just say no?

This was one of the most interesting stories when I was doing the research for this post. The 2003 FIBA Americas team was clearly better than the 2004 Olympic team (Wikipedia says a lot of NBA stars responded to the horrible 6th place finish at the 2002 World Championships), but only 3 players continued onto the 2004 Olympic team (Jefferson, Duncan, Iverson). The biggest downgrade was probably Jason Kidd (something like 50-0 in international play) to Marbury.

Jefferson was regarded as an athletic SF (in the Iguodala mold, but without the exceptional defense) and had just come off two appearances in the NBA finals. I've mentioned before that he'll probably go down as the worst starter the NBA has ever sent to the Olympics (and he played like it too, 32% FG, 55% FT).

I like the Sixers spin in this comparison. My question is with how good a fit Iguodala was for the 2010 WC Team, who does he beat out for the 2012 Olympic team?

Of course, it all depends on who shows up, but ESPN is running a poll asking readers to rank the 24 players from 2008/2010 for the 2012 Olympics here. So far, Iguodala is polling at 14th (surprisingly high, actually). My feeling is he'd have to beat out Carmelo Anthony to make the team -- which is possible if they think LeBron, Durant, and Wade give them enough offense.

Chris Sheridan of ESPN lists Iguodala on his projected 2012 Olympic team, ahead of PFs like Boozer and Odom.

I find it funny how the 2004 team was obviously the worst, but you choose to just ignore that.

"Vs. 2010 WC in NBA series: 2010 wins by 4-3"

What? The numbers, and reality, tell a much different story.

You mean 2010 would win more easily? Maybe, but I was thinking that with NBA rules (and, perhaps more importantly) NBA officiating, Duncan would be a tough cover for anyone on the 2010 team and Iverson would have a lot of success penetrating and drawing fouls. Maybe not enough to overcome the poor team chemistry of the 2004 team, though ...

Duncan would be a problem, I could see that series going 7 under NBA rules.

Joe reply to Statman on Sep 14 at 15:57

Duncan wouldn't be much of an issue. He doesn't cary the ball up the court. With that team, he wouldn't even get the basketball and if he did... iot would be a terrible netry pass by Iverson or off Iverson penetration at his ankles.

Joe reply to Joe on Sep 14 at 15:59

Wish there was an edit feature... or that I proofread more than once in awhile.

johnrosz on Sep 14 at 14:57

I do recall Magic and Bird both being well past their primes at this point but that 92 front court is absurdly strong. No chance for the 08 squad.

Also, Would just like to express how grateful I am that ed pinckney has left the sixers to join the bulls coaching staff. To express my excitement for this occasion, I would like to use a Pinckney quote that he often used during his color commentary career :

"well...thats uh...he he,WOW, really i mean, I'll tell ya...that's just..oh boy...WOW"

Look at those old frontcourts:

'92: Robinson/Ewing/Malone/Barkley
'94: Shaq/Kemp/Mourning
'96: Shaq/Hakeem/Malone/Barkley
'99: Duncan/Garnett/Brand/Baker
'00: Mourning/Garnett/McDyess/Baker

After that they stopped sending superstar bigs and the wheels fell off. Winning this year with a frontcourt of Odom/Chandler/Love was an anomaly and they were lucky the opposition lacked legit frotcourt players. Had Spain been represented by the Gasol's it would have been a different story. But instead they faced the Omar Asek's of the world...

Joe reply to tk76 on Sep 14 at 16:11

How are you classifying "superstar"?

Amare/Brand/Duncan in 04 looks like superstars to me. All were 20 PPG players(only checked Amare)... and Marion was a 19/9 player.

Carmelo/Bosh/Brand/Howard in 06...

Gasol is a great player, though.

I think the problem really was making poor choices on players who derive such a high percentage of their productivity from scoring and doing so not-so-efficiently.

tk76 reply to Joe on Sep 14 at 22:43

There have been some top level front-courts in recent years (like redeem team.) But I'd say the weakest have been:

2009: Odom/Chandler/Love
2002: J O'Neil/Brand/A.Davis/Lafrenz

The other front-courts in the 2000's have nad more stars, but I don't think they were at the level of those first few teams.

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