I recently watched some Shaq highlights back from his Orlando days, from the Dream Team II and III and his early Lakers days. He was really the biggest monster who ever stepped on a Basketball court. When I watched the highlights, I realized that he teamed up with the biggest ensemble of stars of this era at some point in his career!
He played with All Star players, with All NBA Players, MVPs, DPOY with All Defensive Team Players and an almost endless List of fantastic role players like Robert Horry or Derek Fisher, future Hall of Famers or flat out great players to watch like Glen Rice or Ceballos and played for fantastic coaches. I believe that no one comes close to this list even journeymen like Jimmy Jackson or Tony Massenburg never teamed up with so many great players like Shaq did.
Basically I like players more who stay with one team for the entire career but just take a look at the list of players he played with, it’s almost incredible to see how many talented players have been on the same team throughout his career. I know that his career started to take a big hit and that injuries have been a major blow to his career in the last couple of season starting 2006 but just take look…:
92-96 Orlando Magic
Nick Anderson, Steve Kerr, Dennis Scott, Scott Skiles, Penny Hardaway, Horace Grant, Darrel Armstrong
96-04 LA Lakers
Eddie Jones, Nick van Exel, Elden Campbell, Kobe Bryant, Byron Scott, Jerome Kersey, Derek Fisher, Robert Horry, Cedric Ceballos, Rick Fox, Glen Rice, Derek Harper, Dennis Rodman (for 23 games), Ron Harper, A.C. Green, Isaiah Rider, Lindsey Hunter, Mitch Richmond, Karl Malone, Gary Payton
04-08 Miami Heat
Dwayne Wade, Christian Laettner, Alonzo Mourning, Steve Smith, Antoine Walker, Jason Williams (White Chocolate), Ricky Davis
08-09 Phoenix Suns
Steve Nash, Amare Stoudemire, Grant Hill, Jason Richardson, Leandro Barbosa
09-10 Cleveland Cavaliers
Zydrunas Ilgauskas, LeBron James, Antawn Jamison, Anderson Varejao, Mo Williams
10-11 Boston Celtics
Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, Nate Robinson, Kendrik Perkins,
Coaches: Brian Hill, Del Harris, Kurt Rambis, Phil Jackson, Stan van Gundy, Pat Riley, Terry Porter, Avlin Gentry, Mike Brown, Doc Rivers
I didn’t include guys like Brian Shaw or James Posey, Goran Dragic, Matt Barnes, J.J. Hickson, Nate Robinson, Jeff Green, Glen Davis, Delonte West, Avery Bradley who have all not been great or haven’t been outstanding, proven winners like Horry or Fox or guys like Jeff Green or Avery Bradley who are working on their careers.
My All Shaq Team (12 man squad):
Coach: Phil Jackson
I chose Rodman over guys like Payton, Ray Allen or Amare cause I really loved Rodmans energy and passion when he was on the Bulls, Pistons and Spurs but you can easily add someone else or move Malone in the starting lineup. Same goes with Penny cause I discovered NBA Basketball when Shaq played in Orlando and was completely blown anway… ;-)
What do you think or do you think there have been better All whoever teams. Pippen played with MJ, Barkley and Drexler for example, Duncan had some pretty good teammates over his career or the old Lakers or Celtics Squads from the 60s, 70s and 80s come to mind but was there ever someone who teamed up with more talent than Shaq?
I think Shaq was too much of a clown for most of his career and still believe if he chose to be in better shape more often he could have been the greatest of all time but without all his talking, rapping, movie acting or bashing old teammates he wouldn’t have been the same Shaq. He played for the 2 biggest franchises in Basketball, was MVP, Finals MVP, had arguably the best coach ever in Phil Jackson, was in the playoff 17 times and all of his teams have been winning teams what is most underrated accomplishment of his career imo. Wherever he was he made the franchise a winning franchise or was part of a great team. You could argue that he had a ton of help with al the players listed above but he truly was a winner, maybe the biggest of them all only the great Bill Russell can match that. Even Jordan kind of damaged his legacy when he tried his comeback in Washington and played on a bad team.
How about Team Shaq vs. the Dream Team? I think this one is still think the Dream team still would have the upper hand but Shaq in his prime teaming up with Kobe, LeBron, KG and Nash to play a 7 game series…?
I’m not sure if MJs squad would win this one.
For me you need to take into account what stage those players were at that time. As awesome as Hill / Rodman were at their peak, by the time that Shaq was alongside them, they were on the downslope of their careers. Also, whilst Penny's career wasn't that long, he was an incredible player whilst he was alongside Shaq. Taking that into account, I'd go for:
PF: Garnett - No longer at his peak, but close. Unmatched all-round game for a forward.
SF: Lebron - Not yet the player he is now, but was still skilled and physically dominant even at this early stage.
SG: Kobe - So tempted to drop him to second unit due to low %, but defensively will cover Nash and extremely talented.
PG: Nash - The player most able to get Shaq the ball in a dominant position. Great shooter, rest of lineup will cover defensive shortcomings.
PF: Karl Malone - End of career, but before he succumbed to injuries was still an effective piece able to give 12 minutes at a high level.
SF: Paul Pierce - An underrated player, still at his peak.
C: Stoudemire - Pre-injuries was an excellent athlete. Lets face it Shaq will play most C minutes, but could play 12 minutes against the second unit as well as cover his preferred PF position.
SG: Wade - Excellent mid-range game. Would pair well with Penny.
PG: Penny - My favourite player. Incredibly talented. Career tragically cut short.
Final Roster Spots:
Ray Allen - Sharpshooter off the bench. Would have acres of room with Shaq drawing defences inside.
Alonzo Mourning - Close to retirement, but as the last player on the squad a fantastic locker-room prescence as well as willing big body.
As for Dream Team, it'd be close but still going for the Dream Team. As good as Shaq was, Ewing, Robinson and Olajuwon would wear him down and whenever Shaq came out of the game, his replacement would get destroyed.
MJ would tie-up Kobe and Drexler would take Wade.
Nash is lucky that Isiah didn't make the team, but Stockton would match him & Magic would easily take Penny (as much as I worship Penny).
Barkley would take a young Lebron (but probably not Heat era Lebron), but Paul Pierce would destroy Laettner.
'92 Malone would destroy Lakers Malone and not quite peak Garnett would be taken down by Bird.
Mullen and Allen would be a wash.
i would put penny ahead of nash...only because of where they were at the time. pennys best year was better than nashs best year(yes even tho he won mvp)
Mentions a 35 year old Christian Laettner