Olympic Team not on the same level as the Dream Team

It may be the greatest team ever assembled in the history of basketball — the 1992 Dream Team. As everyone knows, this was the first Olympic team of professional basketball players.

I will not list off every player right now, but it featured Michael Jordan in his prime along with Scottie Pippen, Patrick Ewing and Clyde Drexler, to name a few.

Kobe Bryant and now LeBron James think this Olympic team could beat the 1992 team. Both have publicly stated that the newest collection of players would beat the Dream Team at least once.

Jordan laughed when he heard Bryant make his comments, and I am sure he is laughing as he hears what James has to say.

I am also joining Jordan in his laughter because there is no chance this Olympic team would be able to compete with the 1992 Dream Team.

Let’s look at this year’s Olympic team. First off, let’s start with two key players who are missing. Derrick Rose tore up his knee and will miss a good portion of the NBA season, let alone the Olympics.

While Rose is a big loss, Team USA — notice how they do not say the 2012 Dream Team — Chris Paul, Deron Williams and Russell Westbrook are still three very good point guards.

Actually, it is probably the only position where this team matches up with the 1992 team, which features John Stockton and Magic Johnson at the point. Remember Johnson was retired at that time because of HIV, so he was not in his prime form.

Outside of the point, there is not a single position that this year’s team matches up with the Dream team. Bryant is now past his prime, so a 1992 Jordan would beat him off the dribble constantly. Plus Drexler was easily considered the second-best shooting guard of that time and would shoot Kobe out of the gym.

Sorry James Harden, you are not even in this conversation and would be a plaything for Jordan and Drexler.

Kevin Durant and Andre Iguodala will see time at the 2, but Durant is best at small forward and Iguodala, while better than Harden, would be blown away by Jordan and Drexler.

While Durant and James would give Pippen and Chris Mullin trouble at the 3, James will play mostly power forward due to a lack of depth at the 4 and 5. Pippen was a very good defender, so a matchup with Durant would be great to watch, but with more depth, the edge goes to the 1992 team.

The best part is seeing this Olympic team getting pounded inside. James would take elbow after elbow from Charles Barkley and Karl Malone. Barkley led the Dream Team with 18 points per game and would just maul James. Kevin Love plays horrible defense and Anthony Davis is just out of college.

Plus, the Dream Team had David Robinson and Patrick Ewing as the two centers. Tyson Chandler is on this year’s team. Yes, Dwight Howard is injured and not on this team, but he does not have the inside game to compare to those two.

It would be fun to watch these two teams play, though, because I would like to see Jordan destroy Bryant and I would want to see the physical bruising the Dream Team would give this year’s Olympic Team.

Bryant and James can talk all they want, but maybe they should focus on winning the gold medal since their own coach thinks that would be the toughest challenge, let alone beating a group that is far superior to them.

Justin Rust is a sports writer for The Commercial. Email him at jrust@pbcommercial.com.