The real 'Dream Team'? Stats favor 2012 squad

Team USA's Carmelo Anthony laughs after hitting a Team USA's Carmelo Anthony laughs after hitting a three-pointer against Nigeria during a men's basketball game at the 2012 Summer Olympics. (Aug. 2, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

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Kobe Bryant is on record that the 2012 Olympic men's basketball team could beat 1992's legendary “Dream Team,” a group that featured 11 future Hall of Fame players.

"They are a better team," Bryant told the L.A. Times. "The question was 'Can we beat them?' Yes we can. Of course we can."

Now, the record reflects that Bryant might be right.

Through the first three games of the 2012 London Olympics, this squad is soaring past their 1992 counterparts in nearly every category.

The Dream Team scored 330 points and allowed 186 through their first three games in 1992, a differential of 144 points.

Thanks to their record-breaking 156-73 win over Nigeria on Thursday, however, the 2012 team is even better: they've scored 364 points and allowed 207, a differential of 157 points.

The leading scorer so far for the 2012 team is Carmelo Anthony. His 37-point performance on Thursday nudged him up to an average of 20.6 points. He bests Charles Barkley's 19.3 points through the first three games in 1992, and Barkley never scored more than 24 in a game (a 1992 team-high through the first three games).

And it keeps going 2012's way:

- 138 total rebounds to 87 total rebounds
- 96 assists to 88 assists
- Tyson Chandler and Kevin Durant are tied with 6.6 rebounds per game in 2012; Karl Malone led the 1992 team with an average of 5 through the first three games.
- The largest blowout in 2012 was the 86-point win over Nigeria. The largest blowout in 1992 was by 58 points, a 116-48 win over Angola in the team's opener.

The 1992 team isn't a loser in every category, though. Their 86 steals trounce the 2012 team's total of 30 steals thus far. They also lead in blocks (16 to 9) and have committed fewer turnovers (28 to 30).

But the numbers certainly do lend some credence to Bryant's statement, and make this argument even more interesting.

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