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LONDON – With the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Olympics still hours away and the torch relay making its way through the streets of this grand old city, there is still time for the U.S. Men’s Senior National Team to take one last breath before the competition begins Sunday against France.

They ran through their pre-Olympic exhibition schedule like you might expect the loaded, defending gold medalists would — the 5-0 record and 27-point average margin of victory have to impress even the biggest skeptics.

You can take whatever side you want in the Dream Team vs. This Team debate, and Naismith knows everyone who cares at all about the game has weighed in at one time or another in the past few weeks. The fact remains that this is easily the strongest international contingent of talent a U.S. Olympic team will have to face.

There are six other current or former NBA All-Stars in the competition here — Spain boasts two (Pau and Marc Gasol), with Argentina (Manu Ginobili), France (Tony Parker) and Russia (Andrei Kirilenko) each boasting one of their own.

Twenty years ago, the Dream Team faced just five active NBA players on their way to gold (eight other players in that competition had played or would go on to play in the NBA).

The debate will have to wait anyway, since the current team has to first claim a gold of their own. And they’ll be tested by teams like Spain, Argentina, Russia and Brazil, all of which possess more frontcourt size than the U.S. Team has.

No team, though, can go down the bench and find NBA All-Stars nine-deep; Tyson Chandler is the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, James Harden is the reigning Sixth Man of the Year and the 12th man, Anthony Davis, was the No. 1 overall pick in last month’s Draft.

The other decided advantage this current team has over its predecessors is a chemistry and cohesion born out of USA Basketball’s structure since Jerry Colangelo took over as managing director of the program and Mike Krzyzewski assumed the coaching mantle after a dismal showing in the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony are making their third straight appearances in the Olympics and five players on this team are shooting for their second straight gold medal. The talk of playing together again in London began immediately after they won gold in Beijing four years ago. Five others are trying to find a match for their gold medals won at the World Championship in Turkey in 2010.

“These are guys I talk to just about every day,” Chris Paul told reporters in Barcelona after the U.S. whipped Spain in their final exhibition game Tuesday. “I knew ‘Bron wanted to do it. D-Wade wanted to do it, but his injury set him back. I knew ‘Melo was in, so we’ve got one of those things where regardless what anybody says, once one or two of us commit to something, we’re all in.”

That’s easier said than done when four of the five holdovers from the Beijing team (James, Anthony, Paul and Deron Williams) have changed addresses in the NBA since they were last together (only Kobe Bryant remains with the same NBA team).

But the opportunity for one last ride together, particularly as the 20-year anniversary of the original Dream Team is upon us, seems like a perfect way for this group that helped transform USA Basketball’s culture to go out.

“I knew I wanted to play again in 2012,” Paul said. “When I found it was London, all right, just let me know when, Coach.”

70 Comments

  1. mt317158 says:

    92 Dream Team was an amazing collection of players and it was all new having NBA players. There will never be a team like that one with 3 top 5 players of all time on 1 team (Magic Bird and Jordan. A matchup between that team and this team would be close, you never know what would happen in 1 game but I think in a 7 game series 92 wins in 5 games maybe 6. The Centers on 92 were in their prime and both very athletic( no comparison for Chandler/Love). The 92 team had a lot of depth on the wings and Pippen/Jordan/Drexler/Mullin are very similar talent/skill with Bryant/James/Melo/Durant. Deron Williams and Paul are both great point guards but I give Magic and Stockton (92 version) a slight advantage obviously Magic 80′s version is the best point guard ever. Saying this team would not beat 92 is not a slight against them. They are great probably as good as 2008/2000 teams and they are better then 2004. The 96 team is the 2nd best Olympic team ever and would have best chance to beat 92 team(Pippen/Malone/Barkley/Stockton/Robinson all hold overs) add Shaq, Hakeem, Richmond and Miller knocking down 3′s, young Penny, Payton, and Grant Hill handling the ball. There are 9 definite and 11 possible hall of famers on that team that gets no mention ever.

  2. bottom line is the dream team would be to slow for this years team. that much speed is a huge advantage. all you old f.ckers are ignorant just like mj thinking this years team has no chance. how arrogant can you be. get over yourself. dream team beat a bunch of countries that were terrible at basketball back then and lost a scrimmage to a college team. i dont care if it was a scrimmage. if you think youre that good you shouldve wasted that team. i bet they lost cause them young boys were to quick for them. any lineup for that team shouldve wasted them. cant stand all of you old bastards that think they know everything. you dont know a damn thing if you think this years team has no chance. i bet all you still live in your mothers basement and are over weight with no girlfriend and no job.

  3. quit saying kobe is to old and slow now to dominate lol. the man led the league in scoring for almost the whole year until the end. you guys are f.cking retarded if you think kobe doesnt have it anymore. still has more talent than anyone in the league. if you think otherwise then you dont know a thing about basketball. gtfo kobe haters. so jealous. doesnt matter what any of you say anyways. nobody cares about your comments. bunch of over weight with no friends im sure basketball fans.

  4. Kingdom says:

    no matter who wins, LEBRON JAMES is still the greatest basketball player in the world and of all time

  5. Raptors says:

    Lithuania can beat Argentina,France,Russia maybe Spain.

  6. Maxi says:

    it’s so funny – many people here discuss here Team USA weeknesses like other international teams have nothing but superstars on their rosters and they can use Team USA small size
    com’on! give me a break!
    Those USA guys are all profecionals and will use every chance to score, rebound, block…
    And no one will disagree with me here – other teams have far way more weaknesses than USA
    Gold granted

  7. me says:

    bunch of idiots who dont know about basketball are talking about the 92 dream team.

  8. Rodrigo says:

    Argentina´s frontcourt does not outsize USA´s. I would even say Argentina has a very undersized and weak frontcourt, maybe the weakest we have had in a long time, since we are missing Oberto´s defensive presence.

    Also, Argentina has the worst bench it has had in years. The golden generation is getting old, and the next generation of good players is still very young. We are like the Spurs, one last shot at gold! :D

  9. Brick says:

    “For [Bryant] to compare those two teams is not one of the smarter things he ever could have done… Remember now, they learned from us. We didn’t learn from them.”
    -Michael Jordan

    Enough said.

  10. zzz says:

    comparing 1992 and 2012 teams is crazy, 1992 team was complete in all positions, have 3-point shooters, higher IQ an so on, nowadays players are spoiled and have no size…can you compare ewing and robinson with chandler??? malone, barkley with love??? only 3 position is a little better, 2d is better 1992 and 1st is equil…

  11. Lucas Almeida says:

    Team USA doesn’t have size.
    Spain and Brazil are totally capable of beating this small team. Ibaka and the Gasol brothers will make you americans cry (lucky you Rubio is injured)! If they don’t, the brazilians will – Splitter, Varejão and Nene are great rebounders and can score as well. You think there aren’t good players overseas, but you’ll be amazed when you see the skills level of the players of Brazil, Spain or France that don’t play in the NBA.

    ———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

    Q: If Steve Nash were american, would you like him to play for the Team USA?

    • Dr_n-Do says:

      No I’d want Nash to play for Cascadia. You know, since we are talking hypothetically, I’ll live in a world where BC, Washington State and Oregon are ther own country.
      Pau and Marc are slow. Once Team USA starts running actual plays, rebounding wont matter when the US are beating the hell out of every team on transition with Westbrook giving major half court pressure. Watch, he’ll be playing before CP3 and D-Will after one game.

  12. ABC says:

    The US is going to win. They beat Spain (the #2 team) by 22 and the reffing was the worst I’ve ever seen. They gave Spain everything.

  13. Jason says:

    Err didn’t Brazil also qualified? So why the writer didn’t mention Nene and Anderson Varejao? They’re currently playing in the NBA

  14. boy tarugo says:

    Go egoys..

  15. mrj says:

    9 Allstars + James Harden + Anthony Davis…

    Tyson Chandler didn’t make the All-Star Team, FYI

  16. James says:

    The team that the U.S should be worried about is the thunder from down under, the Australians.

  17. BUlls fan says:

    y is everyone calling dwight names when ithe gm is making a big drama about it about how they are gona trade him to houston then no then to lakers then no , all he said he will leave after the season , tbut its the magic gm making a big drama about it

  18. logic says:

    SportsNation had it right, this is the “Keep Dreaming” Team. B4 we even compare them to the Dream Team are we sure they could even beat the Redeem Team? Kobe is clearly a step slower than he was in 08,Melo’s virtually the same & D-Wade was also on the team(he’d easily replace any1 not named LeBron,Kobe,Durant & Melo on this years team). We already know down-low this team would get man-handled w/just Dwight alone but adding in Bosh & Boozer, jus stop it. This team’s only advantage is possibly more athleticism,LeBron at his best & Kevin Durant. But trying to stop thos bigs who can shoot (Bosh/Boozer) & Dwight would be way too much for this team to handle. The ’96 team was also pretty good too and would give this team a challenge.

  19. teamUSA2012 says:

    Sorry Guys I’m a huge Team USA fan and i gotta vent in a random way.
    ESPN – I’m glad Chris Sheridan is no longer @ espn taking pot shots at Team USA. “B Team” “Redeem Team” lame monikers.
    Fran Frashilla doesn’t but kiss Euro teams as much as 2010. i can’t believe it. Despite all that ESPN doesn’t know much
    about intl basketball. a lot of misinformation spewed.

    Bleacher Report – I used to love that random folks would make top 10 lists but all the list now seem to be about who could beat USA
    or our weaknesses. nothing about our strengths. Spain has not beat US in the Coach K Colangelo era. in friendlies or when it mattered most. Argentina is old and frustrated they feel they are better than US (on and off court) and resort to physical overplay to compensate their lack of skill athleticism and youth. Why doesn’t Bleacher talk about the biggest FIBA news of the year (so far)
    how powerhouse Greece (favorite of OQT imo) got eliminated by NIGERIA? Spain finished 6th in the 2010 WC and they were supposed to meet US for gold there. US won WC without 08 members and a TRUE CENTER. LO did his thing just like Bosh did in 08. gotta go. my sleepers are Brazil and Russia. GO TEAM USA !!!!

  20. DHAM says:

    I REMEMBER AS MUCH AS I LIKED D. ROB HAKEEM TORE HIM UP WITH FINESSE MOVES. IF U TOOK OFF EWING AND PUT YOUNG SHAQ DIESEL OUTTA COLLEGE NOW U TALKING. GTFO HERE TOO C. LAETNNER!!! HE WOULD BE KEVIN LOVE’S BALL BOY LMAO

  21. DHAM says:

    NO PUMP YOUR BRAKES!!! REALLY EWING LMAO. CHANDLER WOULD BE SETTING SCREENS AND IM SORRY WESTBROOK AND CHRIS PAUL WOULD BE LIVING IN THE PAINT KICKING OUT FOR WIDE OPEN THREE’S. U NEED TO STOP LIVING IN THE PAST THAT 92 WAS GREAT I REMEMBER BUT THESE ATHLETES LIKE LEBRON(SPEED, SIZE, AGILILTY, ABLE TO GUARD 4 POSITIONS MAYBE 5) GETTING OUT IN THE OPEN FLOOR CONSISTENTLY THAT LOW POST DEBATE WOULD BE NULL AND VOID CHECKMATE!!!!

  22. JustOMatic! says:

    Not on point… Equally on the other end threes would be dropping even more so than those from this year’s team… They would get banged in and out of the paint…Whether you wanted to take pics or not! Ewing wouldnt be getting dunked on by no Westbrook because he wouldn’t get to paint that much… Robinson would be blk leader of course.. funniest thing, it would be Laettner that would do damage.. there’s only two bigs this year…… STOP IT.

  23. willie says:

    win the gold 1st, then we can talk who’s better between ’92 and ’12…. the ’08 redeem team is even better than this ’12 team.

  24. DHAM says:

    People really need to realize that that 92 team was idolized on the court in 92. The competition wanted to take pics. Heck ur hear the spanidards talking and they would conceed to that team right now even with them in their 50′s lol. The international players are better and the want to beat this team not be in awe of them, This 2012 has way more athletes and basketball iq is better than their given credit 4. The best athletes on that 92 team were m.j. snd pippen. Lebron would go to work in post like he did in the post on scrawny pippen, Not to mention kd reigning 3′s. U also got two player in the nba i dont like but international play would dominate, carmelo and westbrook. Ewing the most posterized dunked on center would be on the whole top 10 on sportscenter lol.

  25. MG20 says:

    I’m form Europe myself, but the US can be beaten only if they have a terrible shooting day and their opponent has a great one. That’s the only way USA could lose, because they rely a bit too much on their outside shot…

    • boy sibuyas says:

      they can only beater if the players will remain in the bench and coaching staff, water and towel boys are the one who will play in the game. there is no way in the hell they can these black people!

    • BOOyah says:

      youre FORM europe? FORM europe ?

    • Dr_n-Do says:

      Team USA has shown nothing, and I mean NOTHING of their real game-time strategy in these exhibitions they have played before the actual Olympics. I’m pretty sure that once they start actually running plays, no one will get within twenty by the end of the game. I really wish LMA didn’t have hip surgery during trials – he’d seriously destroy any Euro team with his in and out game, along with his ability to run the break. (LMA- LaMarcus Aldridge… Yeah I’m a PTB fan… no apologies)

  26. nanzc says:

    Paul
    July 26, 2012 at 11:36 am

    Why all americans are talking about Argentina?
    They didnt qualify…they are not playing this Olimpics!
    Don’t worry about Russia , France, Turkey, Spain.
    Brazil is the team that can give u the hard time!
    Please….read a little bit before your posts!
    —————————————–

    This dude is lost somewhere in Mars for a while,,,,you ‘Creep”tonite!!!!!

  27. mad balls says:

    well u see if ganett bosh howard iverson pierce were here and wade then they could pawn the dream team as well as duncan

  28. Marc says:

    08 team is better than 12 team. Way more size w Howard and Bosh in the mix.

    • LakersftwKB says:

      Bosh is waaaaaaaaaaaaay overrated.

      • pakyaw says:

        overrated?Bosh is a 3rd option on the team but still can put 18+pts in a game(sacrificed)..i dont think your boy Kobe can put 12pts in a game if he’s a 3rd option…ohh i forgot he’s a Ballhog!

      • kb24 says:

        bosh is not kobe.. that’s why bosh is just a third option ..
        kobe is already 34 , and still the 1st option.. not a ball hog, but a first option :)

  29. JustOMatic! says:

    I think the USA will be ok in the Olympics this year… They just won’t win like the 92 dream team did, big every game. They will win out though…. People need to stop comparing this team to the 92 team.. MJ and crew would crash this team!! The only standout would be King James, until they put Pip on him.. Bryant would be a non factor for the simple fact, MJ knows his on moves!! Lol!! USA wins gold this Olympics.. A couple of tests they will have though

  30. maxi says:

    go Captain Scola‼ :)

  31. Victor Manoel says:

    I’m OK if Sekou Smith calls James Harden a NBA All-Star, but, officialy, he’s not, just like Monta Ellis and Josh Smith, who, in some moment, deserved the selection and were snubbed.

    • Lepiv says:

      He didn’t say that Harden is an All-Star; he said “NBA All-Stars 10-deep, James Harden is the reigning Sixth Man of the Year and the 12th man”, so you see, Harden is not included as part of the 10 All-Stars.

  32. mr-plow says:

    replace micheal redd with durant and the 08 team plays the 92 team VERY CLOSELY

  33. lbj says:

    2012 dream team is way better than 92′ dream team. how can they handle the king? Lebron! Lebron can dunk who ever he face in the 92 dream team. James can eat Michael Jordan alive when he drives the basket

    • lol says:

      Rookie. haha

    • TimberKitties Playoffs 2nd Round 2012 says:

      Hilarious! Probably has 12 or 13 years old and never saw MJ play; or maybe only saw MJ with the Wizards!

    • BOOyah says:

      lets see MJ play Lebron now, not 20 yrs ago but now and lets see what happens … quit living in the past. do u need to be reminded that we are now in the year 2012 not 1992 ?

      • rollingthunder says:

        quit livin in the past?? when lebron has 6 rings and averages 30 points in his career you can say that! and anyway everyones knows kds a better scorer, 3 time scorin champ!!

    • GO NASH!! says:

      really, so its just like youre saying he’s unstoppable and unguardable, look , no player is unstoppable , as you can see everyone can be block, even your king!! korver for example, has block lebron.. then , you also know that DREAM TEAM has the best stealers ALLTIME!! they got stockton ,jordan , pippen, drexler and ,malone in top 10 list.. add magic and sir charles youve got 7 player in 20 best stealers.

      then , theres the bigs!! the best post defenders and blockers

      im not saying lebron isnt good. but this is a team game men.. are a 10 year old ?? NOOB!!
      this is a team game!! wake up .. your lebron, no matter how good he is, he wont be able to penetrate the dream team alone. everybody knows that A KING CANT BE UNSTOPPABLE AND CANT WIN A WAR WITH JUST HIMSELF, he needs his team mates

    • Dr_n-Do says:

      Time to post your fantasy roster for the Heat with Howard included from a trade with the Orlando for Anthony, Turiaff whoever and whoever and some draft picks again. Dude. You’re delusional. Or 12. If you ever saw any of the 92 Dream Team games, or any basketball from the early nineties, you wouldn’t be making your King James argument.

  34. Paul says:

    Why all americans are talking about Argentina?
    They didnt qualify…they are not playing this Olimpics!
    Don’t worry about Russia , France, Turkey, Spain.
    Brazil is the team that can give u the hard time!
    Please….read a little bit before your posts!

  35. ninjasports says:

    Go USA!

  36. BFoulds says:

    ’92 Dream Team or GTFO

    • BOOyah says:

      so why dont we send the 92 dream team this year? whoops theyre too old, so theyre at home watching this years team so you STFU and quit living in the past

    • LakersftwKB says:

      Ok maybe this years team would keep up with the dream team if they had rondo and howard and wade and kobe was still in his prime but with the official team they got they have no chance… most of the bench players would not know how to handle the bench of the dream team, like harden chandler love davis and williams. Westbrook could have a chance just from speed but thats it… this years team has probably 5 or 6 solid players who could keep up with the 92′ team. Kobe Lebron Durant Anthony Paul and maybe westbrook or iguadala. Dream team has got Bird Pippen Malone Jordan Magic Stockten Drexler Barkley Ewing and Robinson. The bench would be better. The U.S just has alot more international players playing in the NBA nowadays. Back then it was rare to see them. Maybe in a few more years they will get better and younger with Irving Wall and Davis joining the team they could be alot better. btw im 15(:

      • kILLarifIC says:

        we can tell how young you are after some of the nonsense you typed… if you really knew what you were talking about youd easily know that deron williams has outplayed chris paul so far through 5 games.. chris paul wouldnt be able to guard anybody on the 92 team. larry bird wasnt larry bird anymore and magic definetly wasnt magic anymore. neither of them 2 could guard durant or lebron or kobe so theyde have a mismatch there. but 92 has the advantage inside with malone barkley robinson and ewing. lebron couldnt even guard ibaka the other night, theres no way he be able to guard malone or barkley. the 92 team definetly had it wayyy easier then this team and the 2008 team. i wonder if magic and bird at the age they were in 92 could compete with the teams nowadays. they might just be too slow

      • GSW says:

        See, what upsets me is that everyone always leaves off Mullen when talking about the 92 team. The dude was a beast! AND he’s a hall of famer too! Let’s not forget that he averaged more points than Stockton, Robinson, Pippen, Jordan, Johnson, Ewing, Drexler, AND Bird during the Olympics. This isn’t an issue of you being young though. No one appreciates Mullen outside of the Bay Area…

      • Dr_n-Do says:

        GSW- Oregonian here giving Chris Mullin mad respect as a player. You are right – the guy was a beast and he single handedly carried the Warriors for years. Though, I still have to say Drexler really had some spectacular play on the Dream Team as well.

      • j-smoove says:

        Guess What! Rondo got cut from the USA team a LONG time ago. I agree he’s a very good pg but be realistic he’s not on the same level as Deron or Chris, nor even Westbrook for that matter. Colangelo and K know Rondo is talented but if you cant shoot you cant shoot. Nuff said about that.

        Chandler got invited for obvious reasons. Harden and Davis too.
        Injury

        There is no direct way to compare the two teams. This we do know: Lebron would be a huge mismatch for the 92 team to deal with. Jordan would be a huge mismatch for the 12 team to deal with. Kobe is too old now to really dominate like he used to just like the 92 Bird and Magic were too old to really dominate the way they had previously. 12 team would have size issues, 92 team would have speed issues.

        12 team would have every physical advantage at the point guard position save for Magic, who would be a defensive nightmare for Paul or Deron… that being said imagine poor magic chasing paul or deron around a screen…

        92 team would have every height and girth advantage in the post. However, again try and imagine poor Ewing or Malone trying to guard Carmelo’s explosive speed in the low post or chasing him out to the 3 point line. LMAO both sides would have serious mismatches.

        I didn’t mention KD because obviously he would shoot the hell out of the ball and be a nightmare for the 92 team…until the offensive end where he plays 4 or 3 for USA. He’d be guarding Barkley.

        Overwhelming theme: The players today are oversized for their NBA positions with hella speed but undersized for the positions they have all moved to for team USA in order to make room for outstanding guards. Imagine if Rose and Wade were healthy, I guarantee they would not be shifting Westbrook off of the roster. They would concede size for speed/talent, just like they did this year.

    • scott the magician says:

      I cant believe this is getting this much attention.
      The 92′ dream team would CRUSH the 2012 team. They were deep from the top to bottom and had 3 amazing centers.
      Outside of all the big name greats they also had the best PG of all time(by far). just a waste of convo to discuss this. BTW charles looks like a ninja turtle!!!