On a side note....it is really great that we can discuss players, teams, and b-ball in general here without it becoming an all out war.
Yeah, as long as that Minnesota assturd stops calling my boy a rapist!
As for Shaq, no way I nominate him in the best player category, even with a much more respectable free throw shooting percentage. Most dominant, maybe (either him or Wilt), but not best all around. Best all around goes to a guy who can shoot, dribble, defend, pass, etc. He's got to have the complete game, and not just throw down a lot of dunks due to his fortunate size.
Shaq could move himself higher up in the category if he kept in shape, and played 110% all the time, since that would likely lead to almost double his statistics for blocks and rebounds. If he did that, then I'd consider moving him up the ladder a little. But when a monster like him can only pull down 10 or 11 boards a game, and make a couple blocks a game, that's some serious underachieving there.
I'll admit his short game (non-dunks) around the basket has become much better over the years. He's developed some nice touch inside with his short jump hooks and bank shots, to compliment the thunderous dunks. His passing has also gotten a lot better as well. But if a professional basketball player can't make a shot outside of 8 feet, he is not under consideration for "best ever" in my book.
Some of those other guys Brian mentioned definitely are though: Jordan, Magic, Bird, Oscar Robertson, Bill Russell, and of course... Kobe.
Good article, points out a bunch of good stuff, specifcally that a healthy Wolves Team and the Pistons could be the Lakers
Well, if Ralph Wiley says it, then it must be true...
if either the Minnesota Timberwolves or the Detroit Pistons were at their full-strength rosters, and sound of mind as well as body, each of them, it can be argued, could win the NBA title;
I would say the same about the Lakers. If they were collectively of sound mind (which they rarely are), and body (which they weren't for about 2/3rds of this season), then I think they'd be three times as good as they are now. I also contend that if Cassell and Hudson were both 100% healthy and playing well, thus elevating Minnesota's game, the Lakers would just counter and do the same. The Lakers are never playing at, or even close to, 100%, so they always have more left in the tank if need be. They play just enough to (usually) get the job done. So if your guys were healthy and Minnesota was playing better, our guys would just "flip the switch" up another level and adjust their play accordingly. Simple as that.
I do agree with the writer that Malone and Payton are way past their prime, and not doing all that much for our team (especially Payton). But that doesn't make much of a difference to me really. Like with Jordan and Pippen on both of the 90's Bulls' 3-peat teams, as long as we've got Kobe and Shaq, the rest of the pieces are interchangeable and expendable and we should continue to win regardless...