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We all recognize the '92 Dream Team as being the best assembled talent on a roster of all-time. But alot of it by that point was legacy and resume, and not on court abilities. Magic and especially Bird were shells of their former selves. Stockton was hurt, and beef aside, Isiah Thomas was the more impactful player and ELITE star of the late 80's and early 90's and should have been on that team given what it represented.

As we saw with the overhype of the 2012 team, that while yes, they blew teams out once in awhile by lofty margins if they got ridiculously hot from behind the 3 point line. They lacked extreme amounts of bball IQ, passing ability, catch and shoot ability, defensive intensity and of course ... size in the front court.

That's why the '92 team, even with overall slightly inferior athleticism (not by much considering they had peak MJ, Pip, Drexler, Barkley, Malone, and David Robinson) ... they were a complete basketball team. It's the same reason why the 2012 team struggled against athletically inferior competition in Lithuania and Spain.

Which brings me to the 1996 team that SHOULD have been on the floor in Atlanta for the Olympic games. IMO, it would've been easily the best team of all time given the all around skill level, knowledge, shooting, and size ... and also considering most of the elite players were at the end of their prime, at their peak, or entering their prime / peak.

1996 Team USA as it should've looked

PG - Gary Payton / John Stockton
SG - Michael Jordan / Reggie Miller / Penny Hardaway
SF - Scottie Pippen / Grant Hill
PF - Karl Malone / Shawn Kemp
C - Shaquille O'Neal / David Robinson / Hakeem Olajawoun

Look at that team. Down right frightening.

Can you imagine the defensive intensity of PEAK Gary Payton and just exiting prime MJ hounding guards ... with just exiting prime Scottie Pippen swooping in to help those two on traps? All three of them being able to go extra hard on defense with the beefy and intimidating Karl Malone backing them up, and having the MONSTER Shaq protecting the rim?
SF
 

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Restore the Roar
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So, what you're telling us is: if everything broke right, and all the right guys were healthy and in the sport and willing to compete - this team would be WAY better than the teams fielded in 1992 and 2012. Wait... wouldn't the teams in 1992 and 2012 be way better if everything broke right, as well?
 

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Why was Kemp not selected? Barkley was definitely not the better player at this stage but missing half the season to injuries covered up for that fact. Jordan didn't want to play. But yes if you add Jordan remove Mitch Richmond 96 > 92 even if Isaiah was in 92 as well.
 

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So, what you're telling us is: if everything broke right, and all the right guys were healthy and in the sport and willing to compete - this team would be WAY better than the teams fielded in 1992 and 2012. Wait... wouldn't the teams in 1992 and 2012 be way better if everything broke right, as well?
No, they still wouldn't be better than this team.

1992 can't makeup for the fact they got the roster correctly, apart from Dominique and Isiah Thomas getting the shaft. Bird was done. Christian shouldn't have been on the roster, and Stockton was hurt.

2012 team even with Howard and Wade still has way too many holes compared to 2008, 1996, and 1992 ... hell, maybe even compared to the 2000 team.

That 1996 team has Shaq in his prime, D-Rob coming off an MVP caliber season and nearing the end of his prime, Hakeem now a US citizen coming off back to back quality MVP seasons. Gary Payton coming off DPOY, and arguably at his peak as a player. Along with his teammate Kemp, who by that point was the 2nd best PF in the league, and crazy athletic. You've got Reggie Miller in his prime as a shooter, and IMO the best shooter of all-time.

MVP caliber MJ and Pippen. Up and coming athletic beasts in Grant Hill and Penny Hardaway. All with a clear cut alpha dog and pecking order.

That team would've been utterly ridiculous.
 

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No, they still wouldn't be better than this team.

1992 can't makeup for the fact they got the roster correctly, apart from Dominique and Isiah Thomas getting the shaft. Bird was done. Christian shouldn't have been on the roster, and Stockton was hurt.

2012 team even with Howard and Wade still has way too many holes compared to 2008, 1996, and 1992 ... hell, maybe even compared to the 2000 team.

That 1996 team has Shaq in his prime, D-Rob coming off an MVP caliber season and nearing the end of his prime, Hakeem now a US citizen coming off back to back quality MVP seasons. Gary Payton coming off DPOY, and arguably at his peak as a player. Along with his teammate Kemp, who by that point was the 2nd best PF in the league, and crazy athletic. You've got Reggie Miller in his prime as a shooter, and IMO the best shooter of all-time.

MVP caliber MJ and Pippen. Up and coming athletic beasts in Grant Hill and Penny Hardaway. All with a clear cut alpha dog and pecking order.

That team would've been utterly ridiculous.
IMO The 1992 Dream Team should of selected Alonzo Mourning or Shaquille O'Neal to have been the one college player addition. Both guys even went before Christian Laettner in the 92 NBA Draft.
 

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So the 92 team should have been...

PG Magic/Isiah/Tim Hardaway (injury replacement for John Stockton)
SG Jordan/Drexler
SF Pippen/Nique/Mullin (injury replacement for Larry Bird)
PF Barkley/Malone
C Robinson/Ewing

The 1996 team should have been...

PG Penny/Payton/Stockton
SG Jordan/Reggie
SF Pippen/Hill
PF Malone/Kemp
C Hakeem/Robinson/Shaq

I give '92 the ever-so-slight advantage, but it would be very close.
 

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BTW, here's what the 2000 team should have looked like...

PG Jason Kidd/Gary Payton
SG Kobe Bryant/Allen Iverson
SF Kevin Garnett/Grant Hill/Vince Carter
PF Tim Duncan/Karl Malone/Chris Webber
C Shaquille O'Neal/Alonzo Mourning
 

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And here's the 2004 ideal roster...

PG Jason Kidd/Sam Cassell/Baron Davis
SG Kobe Bryant/Tracy McGrady
SF Kevin Garnett/Ron Artest/LeBron James (19 years old)
PF Tim Duncan/Jermaine O'Neal
C Shaquille O'Neal/Ben Wallace

This is the year when the "great" internationals really leapt to the forefront of the NBA. Dirk, Yao, and Peja would have all been on this team if it were just a best 12 in the NBA sort of team rather than a USA-only team. IMHO, it's also the worst of all the potential dream teams.
 

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2008...

PG Chris Paul/Deron Williams
SG Kobe Bryant/Tracy McGrady
SF Lebron James/Paul Pierce/Carmelo Anthony
PF Kevin Garnett/Amare Stoudemire/Carlos Boozer
C Dwight Howard/Tim Duncan
 

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2012...

PG Derrick Rose/Chris Paul/Russell Westbrook
SG Kobe Bryant/Dwayne Wade
SF Lebron James/Carmelo Anthony
PF Kevin Durant/Kevin Love/Blake Griffin
C Dwight Howard/Andrew Bynum

This would have been the best team of the 2000's, IMO.
 

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I would rank the ideal rosters like this:
  1. 1992
  2. 1996
  3. 2012
  4. 2000
  5. 2008
  6. 2004
 

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I would rank the ideal rosters like this:
  1. 1992
  2. 1996
  3. 2012
  4. 2000
  5. 2008
  6. 2004
Interesting .. will have to think about this. Great job coming up with all the potential perfect assembly of the teams. Will need to go over those years myself, to think this one through.
 

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And here's the 2004 ideal roster...

PG Jason Kidd/Sam Cassell/Baron Davis
SG Kobe Bryant/Tracy McGrady
SF Kevin Garnett/Ron Artest/LeBron James (19 years old)
PF Tim Duncan/Jermaine O'Neal
C Shaquille O'Neal/Ben Wallace

This is the year when the "great" internationals really leapt to the forefront of the NBA. Dirk, Yao, and Peja would have all been on this team if it were just a best 12 in the NBA sort of team rather than a USA-only team. IMHO, it's also the worst of all the potential dream teams.
Ben Wallace and JO were horrible in the 2002 FIBA games. Nobody would of put them back on the team in 2004. Odom and Boozer weren't bad on that team.
 

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Why was Kemp not selected? Barkley was definitely not the better player at this stage but missing half the season to injuries covered up for that fact. Jordan didn't want to play. But yes if you add Jordan remove Mitch Richmond 96 > 92 even if Isaiah was in 92 as well.
Think all the crotch grabbing after dunks etc at the 94 Worlds put them off Kemp and a few others.
 

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Ben Wallace and JO were horrible in the 2002 FIBA games. Nobody would of put them back on the team in 2004. Odom and Boozer weren't bad on that team.
Obviously, my lists were simply the best American-born team built from that previous NBA season. No prior exploits in World Championships were considered.
 
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