Who should have been on the Dream Team in Christian Laettner's place?

Do you notice one name on the roster of the 1992 USA Olympic Basketball team that seems to not quite belong among the others?
[li]Charles Barkley[/li][li]Larry Bird[/li][li]Clyde Drexler[/li][li]Patrick Ewing[/li][li]Magic Johnson[/li][li]Michael Jordan[/li][li]Christian Laettner[/li][li]Karl Malone[/li][li]Chris Mullin[/li][li]Scottie Pippen[/li][li]David Robinson[/li][li]John Stockton[/li][/ul]
Who, in your opinion, should have been on the roster in this player’s place?


Laettner was on the team because they (USA Basketball) was pushed to include a college player, to continue the “amateur” tradition. BTW, most people will say Isiah Thomas.

Shaquille O’neal

Nobody. Laettner was the best player on Duke’s championship team that year in addition to being the winner of the Rupp trophy as the college player of the year, so he was the obvious choice if a college player was to be included. If you’re going to look back in hindsight, at least look at the factors that got him on the team rather than what came later.

As everyone has said, that spot, if it didn’t go to Laettner, would have gone to O’Neal, Jim Jackson, or Harold Miner.

Personally, I would have liked to have seen Tim Hardaway on the team, but I think I read once that the first alternate would have been Joe Dumars.

The popular choice might be Isiah, but I’d go with his backcourt-mate Joe Dumars.

Assuming a college player, Shaq.

I disagree that Laettner was the best player on the Duke team that year, but other than that, I agree completely with your reasoning.

IF we accept that there HAD to be a college player on the squad, Christian Laettner was an excellent choice.

I didn’t see the need for one, at the time, and still don’t.

While I think that your answer of “nobody” is the best response there is, I’m not using any hindsight, I’m not taking their post college careers into account whatsoever. Laettner was a tremendous college player, one of the best there ever was; but to say that he was the obvious choice is simply incorrect. Both the Rupp Award and his selection for the team can be popularity contests/political, and don’t dismiss Coach K’s standing within USA Basketball as not playing a major role. Let’s take a look at his history.

International Coaching and Administrative Experience
Pan American Games, 1979 Assistant Coach
National Sports Festival, 1983 Head Coach
U.S. Olympic Team Trials, 1984 Assistant Coach
Summer Olympics, 1984 Special Assistant
World University Games, 1987 Head Coach
USA Basketball Games Committee, 1989-92 Member
Goodwill Games, 1990 Chairman, Player Selection Subcommittee
Goodwill Games, 1990 Head Coach
FIBA World Championships, 1990 Head Coach
Summer Olympics, 1992 Assistant Coach
USA Basketball Men’s Senior National Team, 2006-08 Head Coach

Let’s take a look at their statistics for the '91-'92 season.
Laettner 21.5 pts 7.8 rebs 2.0 asst 1.6 stl 0.9 blk 57.5% fg 81.5% ft
O’Neal 24.1 pts 14.0 rebs 1.5 asst 1.0 stl 5.2 blk 61.5% fg 52.8% ft

If Laettner was so obvious the better player, then he would’ve been the prohibitive top pick in that year’s draft. He was 3rd. O’Neal was physically readier to run with that team, and there were lots of hoops fans that were not happy with the choice.

A case can be made for Isiah, but he wasn’t liked by Magic, and Jordan despised him, dating back to the '85 All Star game when Isiah froze out MJ. While Thomas was, without question, by far the most accomplished player not selected, had he been chosen, there may very well have been a lot of dissent in the locker room. From a team chemistry standpoint, he would’ve been a terrible choice.

So it was Grant Hill then?

“Running” and “Shaq” were never closely associated with each other even in 1992. Given Shaq’s habit of simply bowling over lesser players I’m thinking the international refs, who call a tighter game than American refs, would’ve fouled him out about 5 minutes into every game.

Was Olajuwon a US citizen back then? I’d have taken him.

Firstly, running, in this context, means to get on the floor; in pickup games, each game is sometimes called a run; “Who’s got next run?”. Secondly, Shaq was more mobile and agile then, weighing in at just under 300 pounds.
Please let it be known that I’m no fan of Shaq’s - he got way too much preferential treatment from the NBA refs - witness the finals against the 76ers as exhibit A, when he would continually raise his elbow up while spinning into the lane, ramming it into the upper torso of Dikembe Mutombo.
Olajuwan was not yet a citizen, but had he been, yes he would’ve been a better choice.

Dennis Rodman.


Nope. In my opinion, Bobby Hurley was the best player on every Duke team he was a part of. The guy was simply the best point guard I’ve ever seen in college basketball, even during his freshman year.

I think that I’d have to go with Rodman, for his rebounding and defense. He was and is a nut, but on the court he was always ready to do the unglamorous things that needed to be done. I think Shaq would’ve pulled some prima donna shit and annoyed Jordan, Bird and Magic too much.

Interesting suggestion with Rodman. Not quite sure about Shaq’s prima donna behavior, I don’t think that really came out until he got to Los Angeles, 6 or 7 years later. Remember at that time, he was probably still very much under the influence of his father, a military lifer.