London 2012: Does USA Men's Basketball's Shooting Mean They'd Beat Dream Team?
The comparisons between the original Dream Team and the current edition of Team USA men's basketball have invited somewhat polarizing opinions on who would win. Many sit in the camp that the original Dream Team could never be beat, citing that the Dream Team is tougher up front and also have Michael Jordan.
However, those are all in fact, merely theoretical arguments. The numbers and empirical evidence has somewhat shockingly, made an argument for the current generation of NBA superstars.
According to Marc Stein of ESPN, through the first three games, the Dream Team had scored 110 points a game, while our 2012 squad has poured in 121.3 per contest. Of course, blowouts against marginal teams don't illustrate what kind of basketball team you are.
Evaluating a basketball team or any team, for that matter, can only fairly be evaluated when they are challenged or placed under duress. It's fair to say that the Dream Team, who won their games by an average of 44 points, were never under any sort of challenge two decades ago.
They would certainly face one from this year's squad, however. Yesterday's victory against the poor Nigerians demonstrated their strength and what would give them a chance against the immortal Dream Team. They shot a ridiculous 71% from the field, had 26 three-pointers, and 59 field goals overall.
You can talk about how David Robinson, Charles Barkley and Patrick Ewing would dominate down low all you want, but in a theoretical game between these two sides, low-post prowess is rendered moot by the uptempo style that the 2012 team favours.
It's a simple game. If one team is just making shots like USA did against Nigeria, there is no defense for it. There might no be anyone on the Dream Team other than Michael Jordan or Scottie Pippen who could stop Carmelo Anthony from filling it up for 37 points in 14 minutes.
Michael and Scottie probably wouldn't be trying, either. They'd have their defensive plates full with Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant, respectively. And that doesn't begin to talk about LeBron James.
Hot shooting in the FIBA format makes any team able to beat any other team. It's what allowed the 2004 American side to suffer their first preliminary loss to Italy of all teams. It's what allowed the Spanish side to make the 2008 Beijing finals so interesting. And it's what would give our current edition of Team USA the ability to beat the Dream Team.
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