During a recent interview with Alex Kennedy of The Hoopshype Podcast, Kobe Bryant said he would take his 2001 Lakers squad — that went 15-1 in the postseason and won the 2nd of three straight NBA championships — over any team before or after their dynasty.
Well, look, I’ll take that 2000-01 Lakers squad we had against any team in the history of this game. Against any team.
The answer was expected. I would also expect Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan and any other of the top 10 greatest players of all-time to pick their best championship team against the current Warriors team (that many believe would have lost to the Rockets if they had Chris Paul for the whole series). I even heard Chauncey Billups say his 04 Pistons would beat today’s Warriors.
On a recent episode of The Jump, Rachel Nichols, Kevin Arnovitz and Jorge Sedano discussed Kobe’s statement and the question: Would the 2001 Lakers beat the 2018 Warriors?
If you are under 20 or suffering from the back-to-back sugar rush, you will probably pick Steph, KD, Klay, Dray and crew over the most dominant 1-2 punch of all-time that was surrounded by clutch playoff performers and underrated role players under the command of the Zen Master. Why? Because threes are worth more than two.
If you are over 30 and hate the way players dress today, you will probably say those Lakers would beat the Warriors’ ass. I’m in this age group and I think the only chance the Warriors would have against the Lakers is (not pick and rolls) if Shaq literally beat the ass of Zaza “just clumsy” Pachulia, JaVale “not allowed to be on Shaqtin’ a Fool anymore” or Draymond Green and ended up getting suspended (only happens if Adam Silver is the commissioner).
Unbiased fans will want to know what rules are they using: rules from 2000 or rules from today’s (soft) league. All I can say about the rules is prime Shaq would be more dominant today than he was in 2000 (ask Rachel, Bill Simmons, Tracy McGrady, Vince Carter, Stephen A. Smith, etc, etc.) and a 37-year-old Kobe was able to score 60 against the Jazz two years ago.
Before we get into a few more videos about the teams, I have to point out that team chemistry, intangibles and players understanding their roles always gets overlooked in these arguments. People like to just put faces side-by-side and decide a winner by picking the team with the most All-Stars. There’s only one ball so the team with the most guys that understand what they are supposed to do with it, as opposed to what they are capable of doing with it, will win. Take a look at the Clutch City Rockets of the mid 90s or the Pistons of 2004. Both teams beat a Shaq team in the NBA Finals and it wasn’t because they were more “talented.”
PISTONS VS WARRIORS
BULLS VS WARRIORS