“I’m stuck on the Dream Team,” said Gilbert Arenas. “When you look at the team, they had the best players on the team besides one or two. You look at Chris Mullin; Chris Mullin was a top 6 scorer in the NBA, I think he was 4 or 5 that year. They had the top 6 scorers and the only one that didn’t make it was Dominique Wilkins. So they had the best players in their position.”
The 12-man roster representing the U.S in Tokyo is far from the best America has to offer — Steph Curry, LeBron James, James Harden, Anthony Davis are among those missing from the team. So is it fair to hold them to Dream Team’s standard of success? Patrick Ewing already said it’s not, and Arenas shares the same sentiment.
When we compare our lineups to them, and we got players on our team that’s, they’re not even the second-best player on their team, not even third best, not even top 100 in the NBA, it’s kind of hard to just say, ‘oh, they’re the same team.’Gilbert Arenas, Fanatics View
This year’s roster construction is something everyone points to as the main reason for Team USA’s struggles thus far. But according to Arenas, that’s just a byproduct of the U.S. mentality going into an Olympic tournament — it used to be about making a statement; it’s not like that anymore.
I don’t think we take it as seriously as anybody else and I think that’s the issue. The Dream Team, that was their purpose, to go out there and let everyone know who they are. We don’t do that anymore.Gilbert Arenas, Fanatics View
The last U.S. basketball team that played with purpose was the 2008 Redeem Team, and they restored basketball dominance Americans lost after settling for the bronze medal during the 2004 Olympics. This year’s roster isn’t on that type of mission, and going into their quarterfinal matchup against Spain, that might end up backfiring.
If it does, who is the favorite to win the tournament? Judging by their performance thus far, many will say it’s Slovenia – they are still undefeated and will face Germany in the quarterfinals. But where is the ceiling for a team-centered around one player? In other words, can Luka Dončić do it by himself and lead his national team all the way?
Sh*t, I mean, he sure did it for Dallas. That YMCA team he had and got them to the playoffs. So he has a chance. He has a chance, yes.Gilbert Arenas, Fanatics View
Three years into his NBA career, one thing we’ve learned about Dončić is it’s never smart to write him off. But the same goes for Team USA. They haven’t looked as dominant as we’re used to, and their roster is far from the best the NBA has to offer. But guys like Kevin Durant, Damian Lillard, and Jayson Tatum should be enough to do the trick and secure their third straight Olympic gold.
It’s safe to say they won’t do it as dominant as Dream Team in 1992. But is that really a surprise?