The 2004 US Olympic basketball team humiliated their nation and the National Basketball Association when they finished third in the Olympic tournament. A couple of days ago I examined the NBA win numbers for this year’s Olympic team and the Dream Team. Today, I put the Nightmare Team through the same examination, and found some surprisingly mediocre numbers.
2004 TEAM HAD MEDIOCRE PLAYERS AT KEY POSITIONS
The average NBA winning percentage for the 1992 Dream Team was 1.115%, and that included the rookie average posted by Christian Laettner, a player who did not belong on the team but was added to soften the Olympic Team’s transition from an amateur team to professional team.
The average NBA winning percentage for this year’s US Olympic basketball team is 0.923%, which I initially found a little scary. I no longer find it scary, because the combined winning percentage for Team Fail from 2004 was an incredibly low 0.641%.
Now granted, the 2004 team was still an above average NBA team, and they still should have mopped the floor up with any team that featured any non-NBA players, but still… that was a pretty weak team. The team featured the perennially overrated backcourt combination of Stephon Marbury and Allen Iverson, along with a host of very young, not-ready-for-prime-time players like Dwayne Wade, LeBron James, Emeka Okafor, and Carmelo Anthony.
The 2004 team only had two truly elite players, and both were frontcourt players (Tim Duncan and Carlos Boozer). The overrated players in the backcourt controlled the basketball. That was a problem. Both Marbury and Iverson played awful basketball and basically shot the team to some shocking losses, one of which was an unfathomable blowout loss to a Puerto Rican team that starred former Milwaukee Bucks reserve big man Daniel Santiago (whom I once saw walking with his girlfriend on the Magnificent Mile in Chicago — I yelled to him “Daniel, what’s up… Go Bucks!” — and he looked back at me like I was drunk. He was wearing a black ski cap as I recall.).
Still, as mediocre as that 2004 team was, it still won the bronze medal. So, this year’s US Olympic team should have no problem winning the Gold Medal, though I do expect them to have at least two close games.