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Lenny Wilkens says 1992, 1996 Dream Teams were best but 2016 isn't far behind

The coach of 1996's Dream Team II says the first two were the best ever, but this year's squad played like a true team.

The United States was dominant against Serbia in Sunday's gold medal game.Getty Images

The United States Olympic men’s basketball team may be golden but this 2016 team is not the best ever, so says one NBA coaching legend who also has tasted Olympic gold.

Lenny Wilkens will likely go down as one of the best point guards and coaches ever in the NBA. He also was the man who led the 1996 Olympic basketball squad, dubbed ‘Dream Team II’ by fans and the media. With that group he had to manage egos, unreasonable expectations and yet churned out dominance.

Wilkens was an assistant with the first Dream Team and then four years later was head coach in 1996 with the second group. He was asked by Metro which Olympic team was the best.

“Of course I feel that ’92 and ’96 were the best,” Wilkens told Metro, admitting a slight bias.

But he also noted that this team that just captured a gold medal, one that isn’t terribly flashy on paper, can certainly hold its own.

“Some of the guys who opted out have played there before and wanted to give others a chance,” Wilkens said.

“This is a good team. They have some great talent on this team and I think when they play together they can show the world how good they are. This is a good team.”

He spoke in an interview at an event at the NBA Store in Manhattan alongside legendary players David Robinson and Grant Hill.

The challenge in ’96 was tremendous as he had some world class egos on that team that he coached, from Shaquille O’Neal to Joe Dumars, Larry Johnson to Derrick Coleman. But the calm and steady Wilkens navigated the potentially choppy waters with ease.

In fact, he thinks that this latest Olympic group is a solid team on the international level.

“Some of the guys who opted out have played there before and wanted to give others a chance,” Wilkens said.

“This is a good team. They have some great talent on this team and I think when they play together they can show the world how good they are. This is a good team.”

 

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