Complicated by how the game has changed and how it may change in the next 5 years.
First off, Jordan was the only player I can think of (and maybe Lebron) who you could build a championship team around composed entirely of role players. The bulls had a team of players perfectly suited for very specific roles. I think that without Jordan, I’d say they were quite similar to the Pistons from last year. Jordan did things that never showed up on paper. 1-I saw in one analysis that he had the ball in his hands 80% of the time on offense. He really played a position that doesn’t exist today. He was the center of all ball movement like a point guard, but he could post up anyone as well-and very strong-I think I saw that he benched 325. He could pass too. He averaged 6-7 assists per game and 6-7 rebounds per game throughout his prime. Second, on defense he was the most feared man in the league. He basically played free safety and turned defense into offense. I think he was the greatest defensive non-center ever.
Kobe already looks over the hill. His shooting percentage is down to .430 over the last 2 years which is probably around the league average. He is averaging a huge 10+ free throw attempts per game, but Jordan shot 52% and got to the line-granted in a bigger offensive age, but the Bulls played games much slower and lower scoring.
Now, Kobe is 26 and Jordan haden’t won a championship by that age. He won his first at 27 and had his last MVP at 32 so I’d say Kobe has maybe the next 5-6 years to win some. Shaq is 33 and as a center still could have 5 more big years. I’d say thoug, put Kobe on a team like the Pistons-and assuming the right chemistry-and they’d be a force for 5-6 years. Now, if you put Shaq on the Lakers right now with the players they’ve got and take away Kobe and they’d be legitimate contenders. [/quote]
I agree with everything you said except 2 things. #1) Kobe looking over the hill. Ok, he may look over the hill to you but he’s not. He just has no solid, consistent role players to help him anymore. He’s got double and triple teams on him constantly and that’s why all of his stats have taken a dip.
#2) Replacing Kobe with Shaq would most definitely NOT make the Lakers an automatic contender. Yes, they would make the playoffs but they wouldn’t make it past the first or second round. The reason why the heat are doing so well cuz he’s got excellent role players around hime. That is not the case with the Lakers.