For days now, one of the big topics in NBA circles has been Klay Thompson and Draymond Green‘s belief that their Golden State Warriors could defeat the Showtime Lakers. Talking heads around the country have been giving their opinions, as well as current and former players.
Former-Laker Mychal Thompson sides with his son Klay, believing the three point shot would negate any advantage the Lakers would have on the interior. Magic Johnson, meanwhile, contends that his Showtime team would emerge as the victor.
The debate hasn’t stopped, and Kareem Abdul-Jabaar recently discussed the issue on the Dan Patrick Show:
“They don’t have any size. They play…small ball. Size really matters on the court. Even in an era like now with small ball, if you have someone who can score inside that’s a serious problem for the defense. Imagine if Shaq was playing against Golden State. I don’t think they could do anything with him.”
Kareem’s mention of Shaquille O’Neal brought up the interesting question of whether the 2001 Lakers, who went 15-1 in the playoffs, would be able to take down the Warriors. Intrigued by the thought, Patrick got in touch with Shaq to get his take. Not surprisingly, O’Neal had a strong opinion on the matter:
“In my opinion, I think we would kill them. I definitely would put Klay and Steph on the ground when they try to come in the lane with the finger roll. Definitely. I don’t know if they can take that pain two or three times.”
Being physical with the Warriors is something that has been shown to disrupt them at times and taking hits from Shaq will wear down anyone. Shaq also noted the lack of hand-checking being a huge advantage to both he and Kobe Bryant.
It’s an interesting discussion, particularly when one considers the rule change aspect. Defensive rules have also changed, making it more difficult to get the entry pass off to a dominant post player.
Which rules they play under would likely play a big factor in determining the winner of a hypothetical contest between the Warriors and either the Showtime or 2001 Lakers, but either way, it would be one fun game to watch.