1992 Dream Team Scrimmage Simulations From WhatIfSports.com image

1992 Dream Team Scrimmage Simulations

Double Dip: Jordan vs. Magic pickup game and Dream Team vs. NCAA Select Team

By Jake Wesrich - WhatIfSports.com
July 25th, 2012

Twenty years later, the Dream Team still sets the standard as the greatest collection of basketball talent, the archetype to which all exceptional teams are judged.

Although the London Olympics marks the sixth consecutive time the United States has sent a squad of seasoned pros to the Games, none has been able to capture the public imagination quite like the first rendition. The 1996 team, for example, even counted five Dream Teamers among its cast (Charles Barkley, David Robinson, Karl Malone, Scottie Pippen, John Stockton), and yet that ensemble of stars appeared hollow without headliners Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.

The Dream Team's mystique seems to grow with each passing year. Though their dominance is hardly in need of the proverbial fish story, we can't help but picture players whose careers were waning (Bird, Johnson) or burgeoning (Robinson, Pippen) as though they were at the apex of their abilities in 1992.

The aura surrounding the Dream Team is so strong that even their scrimmages are the stuff of legends. Shortly after the team's formation, they tested their chops against a group of college stars and lost. With little available evidence to explain how such a thing could happen, the public was left to ponder.

There may always be some mystery as to how the scrimmage truly played out, but WhatIfSports.com's basketball simulation engine allows us to take the speculation to another level.

Dream Team vs. Select Team

While Chris Webber, Grant Hill, Bobby Hurley, Anfernee Hardaway, Allan Houston, Jamal Mashburn, Eric Montross and Rodney Rogers formed an exceptional corps of college talent in 1992, it's more than a stretch to suggest they could compete with, much less beat, the best the NBA had to offer. And yet that's just what happened when the U.S. Select team of college stars upset the Olympic representatives in a 20-minute scrimmage. Though the final tally was never disclosed, the Dream Team lost by eight points.

We simulated the teams against each other 1,001 times in a 48-minute tilt and the results seem to support the notion that the loss may have been masterminded by Coach Chuck Daly.

Dream Team vs. Select Team
MatchupWin%Avg PPGWIS Interactive
Select Team0.587.7Simulate Matchup
Dream Team99.5122.5Build your own Dream Team

We used the first NBA season of each Select Team member for the simulation. The eight members of the team received all of the minutes distribution and the rest of the roster was filled out with All-Americans Calbert Cheaney, Isaiah Rider, Chris Mills and Nick Van Exel.

Magic's Blue Team vs. Jordan's White Team

As the Dream Team prepped for the Olympics by playing exhibition games against foreign competition, Daly wasn't convinced they were properly challenged. He split the team up for a full-throttle pickup game. And who better to lead each team than two of the fiercest competitors to ever play the game, Johnson and Jordan. Johnson's team wore blue and included Barkley, Robinson, Chris Mullin and Christian Laettner. Jordan's team, wearing white, countered with Bird, Malone, Pippen and Patrick Ewing. John Stockton and Clyde Drexler sat out, both nursing injuries.

Though they played without an audience, the matchup could have easily filled the largest NBA arena. The game has been described as an intense, physical bout fill with an abundance of jawing. Magic's blue team led for much of the scrimmage, but Jordan's white team rallied for a 40-36 win.

We simulated the opponents 1,001 times in a 48-minute game to learn which team had the upper hand.

Magic's Blue Team vs. Jordan's White Team
MatchupWin%Avg PPGWIS Interactive
Magic's Blue Team48.6107.3Simulate Matchup
Jordan's White Team51.4107.4Build your own Dream Team

We assigned all minutes to the five members of each team. The rest of each roster was filled with members of the 1992 Select Team.


Jake Westrich is the Digital Content Coordinator for WhatIfSports.com. He can be reached at jwestrich@whatifsports.com.

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