Joe Dumars came closer than Isiah Thomas to making original Dream Team

Via Lang Whitaker of GQ:

Granik: The last player, as I recall, was between Clyde Drexler and Isiah Thomas, and you had two pretty great résumés there. I don’t know what the final vote was—I never asked—but when they counted, it came out for Clyde.

David DuPree (reporter for USA Today): If they were selecting solely on ability and accomplishments, Isiah Thomas may have deserved it. But who are you going to leave off? Nobody was tougher than John Stockton; nobody was a better passer. John Stockton was a tough son of a bitch.

Jan Hubbard (NBA columnist for Newsday): Stockton broke a bone in his leg, and it healed very quickly. But initially they were going to replace him, and it was going to be Joe Dumars. So Isiah wasn’t even going to be the first substitute.

Dupree’s slight of Thomas’ toughness aside, this is pretty reasonable. In 1991, Jack McCallum of Sports Illustrated laid out how he would pick the Dream Team, and he also chose Dumars over Thomas:

Dumars can replace Magic at the point or Jordan at two-guard, but his trump card is defense. He does an excellent job of containing Jordan, after all, so he should be even more effective against any other guard. That gives Dumars the advantage over Piston teammate Thomas and the other talented backcourtmen left off our team.

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