Monday, July 23, 2007

"USA State Farm Challenge" or "Did we really know how good they were?"

So for us basketball starved freaks, we had the USA state farm challenge tonight where the USA basketball team was split into two and played each other in Vegas. You know your desperate for any type of ball (sorry but the WNBA just does not cut it) when you are looking at the stats of a scrimmage game. But regardless, our boy CB4 was on the court so there is some long term interest to be had in this for us Raptor fans. Getting involved in international basketball helps players take huge steps forward to reaching greater heights, and it looks like Bosh will be getting more PT this summer with the U.S. team which should pay off for us Rap fans this upcoming season. More on that later topic though later on. Let's stick with right now though with this really exciting "State Farm Challenge" aka Kobe really is the poster child of the NBA.

Here is the line up for the two teams....
White - Tayshaun Prince, Mike Miller, Chris Bosh, Jason Kidd, Lebron James, Dwight Howard, Michael Redd, Chauncey Billups and Shane Battier
Blue - Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire, Deron Williams, Tyson Chandler, Kevin Durant, Kirk Hinrich and J.J. Redick.

Blue won by a point, 105-104. Chris went 6-12 with 12 boards. Kobe got the game winner of course.

I don't know how the team will end up after they make the remaining cuts, although I do have that feeling that what ever the team this ends up being, this will be the team that gets the States back to the top of the world in basketball. Yes, part of that reason is that Kobe is playing now. As much as I think he is overrated with this "best player in the world" crap, he is pretty damn good. I mean, a starting five of Jason Kidd, Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Chris Bosh and Amare Stoudemire with Carmelo/Deron Williams/Howard/Redd/Billips as the back up is pretty damn impressive. I am rooting for just about any other country cause thats the way I am, but come on...that line-up is going to destroy. Last year's version that lost in the semi's looked like this: Kirk Hinrich/Wade/Lebron/Carmelo/Elton Brand with Joe Johnson/Chris Paul/Dwight Howard and Shane Battier as the main ones off the bench. Give me a state farm challenge between those two teams and I am putting major money on the Kidd/Bryant/Lebron/CB4/Amare version unless Tim Donaghy is working.

Now here is the scary good as this team looks on paper, I doubt they would get within 20 points if played against the original dream team. Now that we are 15 or whatever years past that Dream team, its easier to put it in perspective. It really was a "Dream Team". I don't know if we even realized it at the time just how damn good that team was. Let's first though put it into perspective. International basketball then compared to now is completely different. Other countries (sadly not including Canada) has grown leaps and bounds with the talent level since that Dream Team played. I pick the states for winning it all this year, but they will have a tough time doing it. Now if that 92 Dream Team played against the international talent of today, the only thing that would be different is that they would be winning of an average of 15 points instead of the 30 they were averaging back then. Seriously, does anyone have a chance in hell against:
Charles Barkley
Larry Bird
Clyde Drexler
Patrick Ewing
Magic Johnson
Michael Jordan
Karl Malone
Scottie Pippen
David Robinson
John Stockton
Chris Mullin
and Christian Laettner as the waterboy
10 of these 12 were named as the 50 greatest players in NBA history in 1996.
Magic/Jordan/Bird/Malone/Ewing with Stockton/Robinson/Drexler and Barkley as the key reserves. Laettner wouldn't have to worry about getting playing time as 40 of the 48 minutes would be garbage time. Again I ask, did we really know it back then just how good that team was?

Number 6 is my favorite...

1 comment:

Ryan said...

It's crazy to see Laettner's name with all those great

I think you're right though Rob I don't think at the time we really realized how great the '92 Olympic team was but I'm glad to say I was able to witness their greatness. It kind of blows my mind too that some of these players had yet to reach their primes.

Good to see Bosh getting more time.

Also it's hard to believe that Clyde 'the glide' Drexler did so bad on dancing with the stars when he was silky smooth on the court. jokes. Don't know if you saw him on the show but it appeared that both of his feet had turned into bricks!!

Sweet vid!!