A once and for all breakdown of which Dream Team is the superior squad
Center: This year’s edition has been called undersized so if we start with the true centers, Tyson Chandler has nothing for either Patrick Ewing or David Robinson.
Chandler would be competitive and in the way that the game has changed over-the-years he could be very effective in terms of setting up the forwards to get inside, but stroke for stroke he would be defeated consistently by either choice.
Anthony Davis is a hybrid and while time could easily prove otherwise as of right now his inexperience would be his downfall working against either Ewing or Robinson. However…
Forward: When Davis is working the forward slot, he would wear Christian Laettner out. At the time of his selection Laettner was a collegiate athlete just like Davis sort of is. Lattener’s lack of mental toughness plagued his entire career and while he would not go to the rim, Davis would.
Laettner would get beaten so bad by Davis that Jordon would kick him off the court out of frustration.
At this stage of his career Larry Bird was plagued by back issues and retired less than 60 days after his Olympic experience.
If we are dealing with the reality of where he was then and not how he played during the largest portion of his epic career, we cannot with a straight face say that he could take Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Kevin Love, Anthony Davis or Andre Iguodala.
We can in all sincerity state that Bird’s savvy play and will to win would allow him to make a play here and there. But that is the best that he could do.
Scottie Pippen is the most competitive forward on the 92 team because at 27 he was balling-out-of control.
The small forward could have easily taken Iguodala and Love. He goes step-for-step with Anthony and he would definitely succumb to both Durant and James because quite frankly he never individually played at their level.
Let the controversy begin on that statement but as a forward when you have Michael Jordon to lean on, your life is a lot easier than it would be on other teams. Pippen is one-of-the-best-that-ever-did-it but where he was then and where they are now equals defeat for Pippen.
James may have talent around him now but we can’t toss out the Cleveland years when he willed them to the post-season by himself.
If this was even two years ago, I would give Pippen the nod over James thanks to this being the biggest of the big moments, but James has arrived both mentally and physically to accept any challenges.
As for Durant, his 6’9 frame would set his shots up every time against Pippen’s 6’7. Going inside Pippen physically again would have a hard time and like Durant is prone to saying he would just be “too small.”
Power was Karl Malone’s calling card and he would throw down on every single one of these guys save James. Malone would give the 92 squad a strong presence but with James being a minute’s hog, he would meet his match on more than one occasion.
Chris Mullen more or less equals the Iguodala of the group as the really good forward amongst a group of incredible ones.
So head up against Iggy, it would be close but Andre has a lot more pure power than Mullins did and that would see him through when they met.
Now Charles Barkley had no problem with contact. But in reality he’d fight with Kevin Love over height surrendering four inches.
When Sir Charles checked out of games it was usually due to guys that enveloped him. So Love presents perhaps his biggest challenge.
It seems odd right when Love would probably be defeated by Malone and Pippen but that’s really how matchups work.
Based on pure style Anthony gives him fits and could take him on frustration but in the end Barkley could snuff him out along with Iggy and maybe even Durant or James if he was “on” and he got inside their respective heads.
I don’t think Barkley could outplay Durant or James for more than one game and he would probably split the difference with Melo.
Guards: Let’s go ahead and roll straight into Jordan vs. Kobe. The reason that Kobe could never, ever, ever see Michael Jordan has nothing to do with talent. It has everything to do with will.
Kobe is prideful and yes the most competitive man currently playing in the NBA. But what made Jordan…Jordan is a competitive nature unlike any other.
Kobe would be willing to play until he fainted to take Jordan. Jordan would be willing to die to win each one of these games.
That would be the difference between the two every single time they got on the court.
You don’t even need to break down any other matchup with either of them because they would demand to face each other for every moment of every contest.
If the guard position is the quarterback slot of this game, Russell Westbrook suffers from the same disease that Mike Vick used to have in Atlanta. He wants to do everything with the ball all of the time.
That can work in today’s NBA. But against most of these guys? He would get eaten alive because they would sit back and toy with the youngster as he wore himself out.
Again we have to emphasize that at this time, Magic Johnson had knee problems that would not go away.
He didn’t even play a whole lot during the 92 games and if we are being totally honest with each other, did more to educate people on HIV than he could do on the court.
So the 92 Magic Johnson could not have defeated Deron Williams, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook or James Harden in a head-to-head matchup. There is always love for Magic in my heart but this would not go down the way many people with selective memory think that it would.
John Stockton vs. Chris Paul or Deron Williams are the fights that would swing this thing one way or the other in most games. Paul’s style is the closest to Stockton’s.
Stockton had instant chemistry with his NBA teammate Malone that would help against Williams and Paul.
Stockton against the sixth man Harden is interesting because Harden does play an old school style and he has 60% of the same chemistry with Durant that Stockton shares with Malone.
Drexler would get be defeated by Williams and Paul while taking Westbrook and Harden.