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Friday, August 22, 2008
Redeem Team vs. Dream Team


This will be my last entry for a week or so because I'm going on vacation next week. I'm going to assume Team USA is taking gold, though.

I love the fact that the Americans are slaughtering all comers, really, I do. But I must admit that they've taken some of the fun out of these Olympics.

I wake up bright and early whenever they play, looking forward to seeing a competitive game, then they blow the doors off these supposed challengers within the first eight or nine minutes.

I watch the entire game, but once they go up by 20 or so, it loses some of its juice.

It's been a weird experience. On the one hand, I want them to blow everyone out by 30-plus to erase all doubt about U.S. hoop supremacy. But once they start doing that, it gets kind of boring.

So on the other hand, the viewer in me wants a fairly close game, just to make it exciting. But if it's too close and Team USA actually has a chance to lose, I get too uncomfortable knowing the U.S. might go down.

So all things considered, I'll take the blowouts.

I really think this team could challenge the original Dream Team. Remember, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird were both past their primes in 1992. Magic had sat out the previous NBA season after retiring because of his HIV, and Bird, who was falling apart because of injuries, had just finished his last NBA season.

The rest -- Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Clyde Drexler, Patrick Ewing, David Robinson, Karl Malone, Chris Mullin, John Stockton, Scottie Pippen and Christian Laettner -- were in their primes, so it would indeed be a barn burner.

I'm thinking the Dream Team might win if the teams played by NBA rules because Ewing, Robinson and Barkley would be terrors inside.

Their size and inside dominance would be a bit nullified with international rules, though, because of the trapezoid lane, so the Redeem Team might win in international play.

The individual matchups:

Magic vs. Jason Kidd: Even though Magic had been in retirement, he gets the edge because he was the greatest point guard ever and Kidd, at this stage, is past his prime.

Bird vs. Carmelo Anthony: Melo wins only because by then, 35-year-old Bird was done (literally) and his back had limited him to just 45 games the previous season.

MJ vs. Kobe Bryant: With all due respect to Kobe, it's obviously MJ.

Barkley vs. LeBron James: Barkley was a beast and was dominant in Barcelona, but I'll take LeBron, who I think is proving he's the best player in the world right now.

Robinson vs. Dwight Howard: This is a close call that could go either way. I'll call it a wash.

Ewing vs. Chris Bosh: Bosh has been impressive in these games, and he might have an edge over Patrick in international ball, but I'll go with Ewing.

Drexler vs. Dwyane Wade: Man, this is a tough one. Drexler was fantastic, but I'm going with Wade, who has been better than everyone but LeBron.

Stockton vs. Chris Paul: People are going to trip, but I'm going with Paul. Maybe I'm not giving Stockton his props, but when it's all said and done, I think CP3 will be better.

Pippen vs. Deron Williams: Going with Pippen, who was a fabulous defender. But D-Will has been great in these games.

Laettner vs. Tayshaun Prince: Gimme Prince.

Malone vs. Carlos Boozer: Obviously, The Mailman.

Mullin vs. Michael Redd: Gotta go with Mully.

Too bad we'll never see them play each other.

On another note, I love the Celtics' signing of Darius Miles. We all know Miles has gobs of talent, and if he's truly healthy enough to play again, he'll be a steal for Boston.

I know he's been one headache after another because of his immaturity, but with their veteran leadership, the Celtics won't put up with any foolishness from Miles. My guess is that he'll be on his best behavior and that he'll mature a lot by being around Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and the rest of Boston's true professionals.

Remember, 6-9 Miles is just 26 years old (he'll turn 27 during training camp), so again, if he's healthy, he should still have something left. His length and athleticism should make him a nice fit for the Celtics' defense.

Boston was my pick in the East anyway, but now the Celts are even stronger. A repeat? I'm still thinking about that one.