12. Christian Laettner
Teams: Minnesota Timberwolves, Atlanta Hawks, Detroit Pistons, Dallas Mavericks, Washington Wizards, Miami Heat
Weight: 245 lbs
Dream Team stats (per game): 4.8 points, 2.5 rebounds, 1.0 steals
Career stats (per game): 12.8 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.1 steals, 0.8 blocks
Laettner had a solid 13-year NBA career, but relative to his other 11 teammates, he was the weakest member of the bunch. Of course, he already arrived at a disadvantage, as plenty of critics believed Shaquille O’Neal should have been placed on the roster instead of him. However, thanks in large part to his tremendous success in college, Chuck Daly and his coaching staff decided Laettner was more ready to contribute.
Laettner appeared in all eight of Team USA’s games, averaging 4.8 points and 2.5 rebounds per game. The Duke alum then burst onto the NBA scene as a rookie, averaging 18.2 points and 8.7 rebounds per game as a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Unfortunately, his rookie year ended up being his highest scoring season, as Laettner struggled to ever find consistency in the NBA. He was traded six times in his career, and never spent more than three seasons with a single franchise. In addition, his teams never made it past the second round of the NBA playoffs in his 13 seasons.
While few could have predicted it at the time, Team USA’s gold medal victory was the pinnacle of Laettner’s career.
Image Source: Hypun