Skip to main content

Shaq: "Lakers would dominate" - Curry: "Shaq is dead wrong"


I have a love-hate relationship with this kind of arguments. The hate part comes if you take them literally. You'd need a supercomputer and a lot of data to try and simulate a game between the '00/'01 Lakers and the '16/'17 Warriors. But, if you use it as a starter for a more in-depth conversation about basketball, I am in. One other circumstance I will pay attention is if two great players are having the discussion.

When asked to compare the '00/'01 Lakers and the 16/'17 Warriors, Shaq said (via Scott Gleeson, USA Today):

"I think we'd easily win, other people might feel different, they (the Warriors) might feel different. But we had one of the best teams of all-time in 2001 when we went 15-1 in the playoffs. We would've gone 16-0 but A.I. (Hall of Famer Allen Iverson) went off on us and stepped over (former Laker) Ty Lue."

It's not surprising that a supremely confident Shaq, one of the most dominating big men to ever play, feels like he could score a gazillion points on a small ball team. He would even pass to Kobe a few times probably. This does seem a bit superficial.

Then, Steph Curry was asked to comment on Shaq's opinion. Curry pointed out comparing different eras is always an ungrateful task, but then ended with (via Nick Friedell, ESPN):

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

"Oh, he's dead wrong, of course. We'd beat them. We can go back-and-forth all day."

Steph continued to explain he feels they should just be measured within the era they played and the dominance they managed to achieve. Then compare that to other great teams in their era and say your ranking through that criteria.

Basketball is a matchup sport, but a game cannot be projected through individual matchups. Would Shaq dominate Daymond in the low post? He absolutely would. Would Draymond pull Shaq out from the rim and create space for Step, KD, and Klay? He would surely try. Let's say Shaq doesn't bite and stays in the post. Then you have a mismatch on the perimeter etc. You get my point.

In the end, the deciding question in all these becomes: which rules are we using? If we are playing in the 2018 NBA with freedom of movement? Give me the Warriors. Are we in 2000 and players can be checked and bumped every time they run next to you? I want the Lakers.

Shaq gets this as well. In the same interview where he gave this comment, he was asked about MJ vs. LeBron and immediately pointed out the importance of context and rules applied in the simulation.

That is why these discussions can be interesting if you define the context and go in depth. They can be a tool to learn and hypothesize about the game, that is great. If they are a pointless exercise in expressing stubborn fandom, then we are all at a loss.

If you are interested in the first, join our discussion group on Facebook. We are working on creating such an environment and every member counts!

Bruce Bowen

Bruce Bowen addresses his dirty player reputation ”It's who I am”

Bruce Bowen shares his honest take on being tagged as a dirty player.


Patrick Beverly goes off on Stephen A. Smith: "You need to be drug tested. Get off the weed man!"

Safe to say, Pat Bev disagreed with Stephen A.'s take regarding James Harden and his possible new max contract.

Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton

DeAndre Ayton’s video game obsession will cost him a lot, on and off the court

DeAndre Ayton's love for video games reduces his sleeping time to two hours on some nights. This isn't good news to fans and the front office that is not keen on giving him a max extension.

Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler

“I know what I’m capable of” — Jimmy Butler shines the brightest as the Miami Heat draws first blood against the Boston Celtics

After a remarkable 42-point half, the Heat limited the Celtics to shoot just 2 out 15 from the field (13.3%) in the third quarter

Miami Heat small forward LeBron James on the floor vs. Dallas Mavericks

LeBron James admits 2011 Finals loss vs. Dallas Mavericks was the toughest one in his career

LeBron opened up on what the catastrophic 2011 Finals loss taught him.

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Patrick Beverly and Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James

“The taxes are much, much lower than L.A.” — Patrick Beverley tries to recruit LeBron James to Minnesota

Patrick Beverley named several formidable reasons why LeBron James should go to Minnesota.

Luka Doncic on his first WCF appearance: “I’m living the best life right now”

Luka Doncic on his first WCF appearance: “I’m living the best life right now”

Will Luka Doncic continue to live his best life? Or will the Golden State Warriors make it hell for him in the next following days?

Klay Thompson takes a long pause before answering a Luka Doncic question

Klay Thompson takes a long pause before answering a Luka Doncic question

Klay Thompson and the Golden State Warriors know how to win against teams led by generational stars