Yardbarker NBA writers Pat Heery and Sean Keane address the hottest issues in the NBA. This week’s topic: All things Lakers.
Heery: We’re in the midst of one of the lulls in the 82-game season. There’s no mid-season tournament (yet). The trade deadline is about a month away, and the rumors are only just starting to crackle as middling teams are still deciding whether to be buyers or sellers. And the All-Star Game doesn’t happen until mid-February. What are we going to talk about this week?
Lucky for us, Jimmy Fallon gave us a nice hypothetical on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” the other night when he asked his guest, Shaquille O’Neal, whether he and Kobe Bryant would have beaten LeBron James and Anthony Davis in a hypothetical two-on-two game. Shaq’s response: “Yes. Hell, yes. Of course [we’d win]. Cause there’s only one contributing factor. Who’s gonna guard me?”
OK, Sean, let’s pretend Skip Bayless called off this week of work after falling off the elliptical upon seeing that the Cowboys hired Mike McCarthy to replace Jason Garrett. Here’s your audition tape: Would Shaq-Kobe beat LeBron-AD in a game of two-on-two?? The floor is yours…
Keane: QUITE FRANKLY, Pat Heery, it’s no surprise that a star from the ’90s went on television and claimed that he’d beat a contemporary star. That’s what happens each and every week on “Inside the NBA,” the last place where the triangle offense reigns, jump shooting teams can’t win an NBA title, and your manliness is directly correlated with how many times you post up every game. However!
The big advantage that LeBron and AD have over Shaq and Kobe on a basketball court is their passing ability and court vision. In a 2-on-2 game, LeBron’s passing wizardry means you never know who the ball is going to go to, and in this hypothetical, it’s always going to Anthony Davis. If I’m Phil Jackson — obviously he’s going to coach Kobe-Shaq and probably run the straight-line offense — I’m sticking Shaq under the basket full time and making the 2020 Lakers beat me with jumpers. I’m not sure Kobe can stop either of these guys by himself, because they outweigh him by at least 40 pounds apiece, but perhaps he gets to hand check since that was still legal when his career began. But if a fan tries to paint a mural of Davis and James during this game, it is getting defaced immediately.