With the Golden State Warriors only two wins away from their second straight NBA championship, the conversation about where the Warriors rank amongst the greatest teams in NBA history has ramped up again.
Following Game 2, Draymond Green was asked if he thought the Warriors were better than the ‘Showtime’ Lakers. Klay Thompson (son of ‘Showtime’ player Mychal Thompson) jokingly said they were better than those Lakers, though Magic Johnson disagrees.
There is another more recent Lakers team in the all-time discussion as the 2001 Lakers went 15-1 in the playoffs, an NBA record. In an interview with the Associated Press, Shaquille O’Neal said those Lakers would beat the Warriors regardless of what era they played in:
“If you’re using those rules, we’d win. Now we use these rules these days, we’d still win, because you wouldn’t be allowed to touch me, you wouldn’t be allowed to touch Kobe,” O’Neal said. “So yeah, that’s how I always look at it.”
Shaq makes an interesting point about how those Lakers would thrive with these rules. A young Kobe Bryant having more freedom thanks to the lack of hand checking in today’s era would have been nearly impossible to deal with, and Shaq was already unstoppable so the Warriors would have had no way to contain him.
It is always difficult to compare teams from different eras as there are so many other variables that have to be taken into account. Regardless of where they stand amongst the other all-time greats, the Warriors defending their first championship by winning 73 games and a second straight ring is one of the best seasons of all-time.