The 20th anniversary of the Dream Team's unforgettable triumph in Barcelona has been the cause of celebration as well as debate. That team was exceptional, yes, but could they beat their 2012 counterparts? Kobe Bryant thinks the current squad could "pull it out". Michael Jordan disagrees.
So when it comes down to it, which is the best team of all time? According to one set of predictions, the answer is neither.
PredictionMachine.com, a website run by Paul Bessire which simulates matchups 50,000 times, determined that the best USA Basketball Team may have been the 2008 Redeem Team. In Bessire's calculations of a seven game series played 50,000 times, the Dream Team bested the 2012 Team more than 60 percent of the time.
The simulation between the Dream Team and the Redeem Team was much closer, but the 2008 squad came out ahead 51 percent of the time. The average score in those 50,000 simulations was incredibly tight, with the Redeem Team winning by an average score of 92.6 to 91.9. Of all three teams, the players on the Redeem Team had the highest average career Player Efficiency Ratings (21.7 compared to 21.3 for the Dream Team and 20.9 for the 2012 team). The Redeem Team was also the youngest, with players averaging 25.4 years old. The Dream Team average was 28.9.
One interesting note from Bessire's simulations is that if Dwight Howard and one of the other injured superstars who is sitting out these Olympics (Derrick Rose, Blake Griffin, Dwyane Wade, etc.) were on the 2012 team, that would create a virtual draw with both the Dream Team and the Redeem Team.
Finally, as has been suggested before, the best may be yet to come. If NBA players are still playing in 2016, and all of the expected stars suit up, Bessire writes that the Rio Olympic Team could be the most dominant team yet.
(H/T to Deadspin)
-- Follow Robbie Levin on Twitter @RobbieLevin.