NBA

Kobe or Shaq: Who Has Been More Important To Their Teams Over The Years?

2/18/10 in NBA   |   arihoring1   |   41 respect

There are two ways to determine how great a player is.

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Firstly, you can look at statistics and awards, which are easy to look at, but in reality this isn’t the best method for determining how great a player is.

The best example for why this method isn’t the best is because of players like Allen Iverson, who have had great career statistics, but ultimately did not make their teams better for most of their careers and sometimes even made them worse.

This can also work the opposite way if you look at a player like Chauncey Billups, who doesn't have as great stats as some players, but has more of an impact on his team than many of those other players.

Therefore the best way to figure out how great a player truly is, look at how much better a player makes his team and how much worse they would be without them. However, although this method is the best, it is also generally the hardest because there is no exact science to pinpointing it out. 

This becomes even harder when a player doesn’t miss very many games or doesn't change teams.

With the Lakers going 4-0 without Kobe Bryant, it has reopened up my eyes to address Bryant’s impact on his team now and over the years. To even further help my case, I’m going to compare Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal’s impact on their teams over the years.

If you look at Bryant’s history and compare it to the history of player like O’neal, it’s quite amazing how much one player has been more important to his teams than the other.

Before the Orlando Magic selected O’neal in the 1992-93 draft the team was 21-61 the year before. With O’neal they improved tremendously going 41-41 the next season and 50-32 the season after that. In O'Neal’s third season they made their first finals appearance in NBA history. After O’neal’s departure from Orlando, the team didn’t make it pass the first round of the playoffs until last year.

In O’neal’s first year with the Lakers, O’neal had a significant impact which was easy to see because O’neal missed 31 games. In the 51 games that O'Neal played in Los Angeles was 38-13. In the games O'Neal didn’t play in the Lakers were 18-13. The team finished 56-26.

This was also Bryant’s first year but he only played 15.5 minutes a game and shot a pedestrian .417% from the field. Bryant, who was a young developing player, not only did not have much of an impact on this team, was sometimes even a hindrance on the Laker’s play.

Although Bryant showed flashes of brilliance, he was a young erratic shooter, who didn’t understand the team concept very well. Bryant clearly though had the fortune of being put with a great team already from the beginning of his career.

In O’neal’s second year with the Lakers, the team started 11-0, then endured a stretch of 20 games that O'Neal missed because of an abdominal injury in which they went 13-7. The Lakers finished 61-21 and made it to the conference finals. Once again the team had a much better record with O’neal then without O’neal.

Bryant, although still not a starter, saw his minutes increase to 26.0 minutes per game and his points nearly double to 15.4 points per game. Bryant’s FGP still however was not where it needed to be as he shot .428 from the field.

In the 1998-1999 short lockout season, the Lakers seemed to get a little worse, but it's very hard to point to specifically why. One day after signing Rodman, with the team sporting a 6-6 record , Los Angeles relieved head coach Del Harris of his duties. Assistant coach Kurt Rambis took over on Feb. 26 for the rest of the season.

The Lakers improved with Rambis and Rodman going 25-13 with them, so I would not point to the coaching change or the addition of Rodman as why.

Half way through the season, the Lakers traded Eddie Jones and Elden Campbell to Charlotte for Glen Rice, J.R. Reid and B.J. Armstrong. However, Rice averaged 17.5 ppg compared to Jones’ 13.6 and the trade seemed not to be the reason for the regression.

The two reasons for the regression seem to be more related to the departure of guard Nick Van Exel before the season and the increased minutes of Bryant. Bryant was given a much larger role and became the starter averaging 37.9 minutes per game, 19.9 points per game, and shooting .467 from the field.

However, Bryant also averaged 3.14 turnovers and only 3.8 assists. The loss of Van Exel and the bigger role the inexperienced 21 year old Bryant was given was a big reason for the slow 6-6 start and the regression of the team’s record overall to 31-19.

The next season, legendary coach Phil Jackson was added, O’neal stepped up his game to become the most dominant force ever, and Bryant’s game improved each year. For the next three years the Lakers went on to win three NBA titles.

However, what is important for us to focus on in this article are these stats. If you took O’neal off the Lakers during their title runs, the Lakers wouldn’t be guaranteed to make the playoffs. When O'Neal was injured during his three peat, the Lakers had a regular-season record of 12-11 (.5217%).

When Bryant was injured, the Lakers regular season record was 25-7 (.78%). Interestingly, the Lakers’ entire regular-season record during their three-peat was 181-65 (.735%), which is a lower record than when Bryant wasn’t playing. The Lakers therefore actually had a better record when Kobe wasn’t playing.

I know that 23 games and 32 games is a small pool to use. However, even with the small pool of games Shaq missed, it’s pretty safe to say that the Lakers would not have been a contender in the slightest bit without O’neal, because in previous years the team’s record also dropped drastically without O’neal.

What we need to focus on is what we can determine from the small pool of games Kobe missed. Although 32 games is small, it should be considered relevant, but not necessarily decisive. We cannot conclude that the Lakers were better without Bryant. I do however believe it’s safe to conclude that the Lakers were still a great team without Kobe, while they were not a great team without Shaq.

Before O’neal was traded to Miami after the 2003-04 season, the Heat were 42-40 the year before and were not real contenders. With the arrival of Shaq and departure of three of their best players in Brian Grant, Lamar Odom, and Caron Butler, the team went 59–23 and made it to game seven of the conference finals where they would lose to the Pistons.

The next season, the Heat won the NBA championship just as O’neal had promised. Although Wade was the best player on the team, not surprisingly, O’neal’s absence was felt like it always had when he missed games. During the 2005-06 season, O’neal missed 18 games and the Heat recorded only a .500 record without O'Neal in the line-up.

The Lakers on the other hand before they got rid of O’neal were 56-26 and made the NBA finals.

Without O’neal and with Bryant leading the team, they went 34-48 and the Lakers missed the playoffs for the first time in NBA history. If someone were to tell you that your team now would have Caron Butler, Lamar Odom, and Bryant, you would probably expect them to at least make the playoffs.

Although all three players were younger, Butler still averaged 15.5 points a game for the Lakers and was still a very good player. Odom also averaged around 15 points and ten rebounds a game and was a great player.

However, Bryant was still maturing as a team leader and hadn’t yet learned how to consistently win or make his teammates better yet. The Lakers would go 45-37 and 42-40 in the following years and lose in the first round of the playoffs both times.

The next season after the championship an aging O’neal missed 40 games and the Heat had an under .500 record because of it for most of the season. After O'Neal came back, Wade was seriously hurt and many predicted the Heat would fail to even to make the playoffs. 

However, lead by O’neal, the Heat would go on to win 11 out of 14 games at one point. In that time, Miami posted a nine-game winning streak.

Don't forget that the Heat's roster without Wade wasn’t deep at all with past their prime players such as Jason Williams and Antoine walker on their team. Therefore what O’neal did was quite an accomplishment. 

When Wade came back for the playoffs, he was out of sync and the team chemistry suffered, ultimately causing them to lose to the Bulls in the first round.

The next season, due to injuries and an aging body, O'Neal was clearly not the same player. At the age of 36, it would be hard to expect much from an aging big man. Just look at the end of Olajuwon’s and Ewing’s career and you’ll see a similar trend.

O’neal was traded to Phoenix, where he did not have a large role and made the team worse due to conflicting styles of play.

Without O’neal, Dwayne Wade has been unable to make the Heat contenders showing once again how valuable a younger O’neal was to the team.

The next season O’neal had a sudden rebirth, which he attributed to the Sun’s new age training staff and his larger role in the offense, and was considered by many to be the Sun’s best player last season.

Even so, his conflicting style of play with many of the players didn’t make their team better. To be fair to O’neal though, Stoudemire was lost for the second half of the season, and the Sun’s record this year isn’t much better without O’neal. This season he was added to the Cleveland Cavaliers and although they have won a similar amount of games as last year, they have been clearly better against the elite teams.

In Bryant's fourth season without O’neal, due to the growing maturity of Center Andrew Bynum, the team showed improvement early on going 28-16 before acquiring Gasol. However, Bynum would hurt his knee and be sidelined for the remainder of the seasons.

Luckily for the Lakers, they had already traded for Grizzlies forward Pau Gasol. Gasol helped the Lakers finish the regular season with the best record in the Western Conference (57-25), with him in the starting lineup the Lakers went 22-5 and made it all the way to the NBA finals.

The next season the Lakers would go on to win the NBA championship with Gasol, Odom, and Bryant leading the way.

This year, the Lakers are 30-7 with Gasol , 12-6 without Gasol, and 4-0 without Bryant. The Lakers have almost as many losses without Gasol as they had the rest of the season.  On the other hand without Bryant, the Lakers finally snapped a nine-game losing streak in Portland.

The next game they beat a very good team in the Spurs and ended the Jazz’s 9 game winning streak the next game. On Tuesday night, they beat the Warriors without Kobe, making it 4 straight wins without him, showing how great of a team they still are without Bryant.

From all of the evidence I have shown it is pretty apparent that O'Neal’s impact on his teams has always been far greater compared to Kobe’s impact on his team.

Bryant can put up 81 points every night, but at the end of the day, really great players make their teams a lot better. When Bryant has been absent, his teams have not missed a beat and sometime have even been better without him.

Without Gasol and especially O'Neal he has not been able to take his teams anywhere. On the other hand, when O'Neal, up until the age of 36, has missed time or left a team, his teams have clearly suffered, and when he has been added to a team, his team became immediate contenders.

However, why is that many people consider Bryant to be a greater player than O'Neal's career wise? Bryant was just voted  player of the decade on TNT with over 50% of the vote.

TNT analysts Charles Barkley and Kenny thought O’neal should have won followed by Duncan and Bryant should have been third since O’neal was the main reason for the Lakers three titles and not Kobe.  

Barkley said, “This is why fans should never vote."  These are the same clueless fans who voted on an ESPN SportsNation poll that the Lakers wouldn't make the playoffs without Bryant.

These fans and many so called experts can’t see beyond Bryant’s flash and great scoring. Bryant is still a great player, but history has shown us that he is not in the same league career wise as a player like O'neal.

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10/23/10   |   doop

Kobe would have zero ring's and probably wouldnt even be a top 5SG today if he didnt get to play with the diesal Kobe and Phil Jackson owe Shaq alot and no its not the other way around.

10/23/10   |   doop

You guys are ridiculous.  Shaq in his prime was arguably the GOAT and was his first 13+ seasons were better then Kobe's best season.  In their first championship togeather kobe was at best a role player and only in the third season of the 3peat was he even near the best in the league at SG.  Shaq made kobe a star just like he did with wade but kobe has so many lips on his **** that history will be rewritten for some people.  its very sad.  Prime Shaq Was leagues better then Kobe in every aspect of the game from offense to overall defensive precense/effect to even passing.  comparing these 2 is a joke.

5/12/10   |   EdwardWalker

kantwistaye wrote:
Shaq - so valuable that 3 straight teams have felt the need to rid themselves of him!

In all seriousness, they have their advantages and disadvantages.  Shaq tears up locker rooms and doesn't give a damn 50% of the time.  He's also possibly the most dominant player with 3 to 5 feet of the hoop of all time.  He has no skills outside of that however.

Kobe can tear up the locker room, although outside of Shaq he's never had any true team splitting issues (although there was the two day issue after a loss to Memphis to start out the month).  He's vastly more skilled than Shaq but not a 7 foot behemoth.

Also, for player of the decade - its between Kobe and Duncan.  Shaq hasn't even been in the best player on his team debate since 2004 and at that point it was already Kobe, although admittedly not by much.

YOUR ILLUSTRATIONS ARE WRONG. FACE IT,YOU DON'T CARE FOR BRYANT. WITHOUT BRYANT, SHAH WOULD HAVE NOT WON A CHAMPIONSHIP. PAUL COULD NOT WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP EITHER.  HISTORY HAS IT WORKING THIS WAY WITH THE LAKERS. OR DO YOU REMEMBER. WILT/WEST/BAYLOR: KAREEM/MAGIC/WORTHY: CASOL,BYNUM AND YOUR TRULY KOBE. BASKETBALL IS A TEAM EFFORT. NO ONE SHOULD BE MVP UNLESS YOU WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP. SHAQ CANNOT WIN WITHOUT A SUPERSTAR GUARD AND VIS-A VERSA. SHAH WILL NEVER WIN ANOTHER CHAMPIONSHIP BECAUSE THE LAKERS HAS KOBE. BRYANT THE GREATEST PLAYER. DON'T ASK BARKLEY. HE DON'T HAVE ANY RINGS OR CHAMPIONSHIP. REMEMBER THE GOLD. COULD NOT WIN THE GAMES WITHOUT KOBE. DON'T HATE.

5/11/10   |   cjevaune   |   61 respect

(Edited by cjevaune)

Kobe has 5 rings and is the best finisher in the NBA, also he sees the importance in he's team now. So why compare Shaq and Kobe when Kobe is the obviously better player

4/19/10   |   XERXUS   |   8348 respect

yes they were

4/18/10   |   dodgerbluebaby   |   75 respect

I have to say KOBE..but SHAQ has alway's been trouble in the paint!! trying to move that big man is almost impossible!! They were Both awesome to gether in LOS ANGELES!! GO LAKERS!!!! 

4/11/10   |   rmplayfit   |   5 respect

kantwistaye wrote:
Shaq - so valuable that 3 straight teams have felt the need to rid themselves of him!

In all seriousness, they have their advantages and disadvantages.  Shaq tears up locker rooms and doesn't give a damn 50% of the time.  He's also possibly the most dominant player with 3 to 5 feet of the hoop of all time.  He has no skills outside of that however.

Kobe can tear up the locker room, although outside of Shaq he's never had any true team splitting issues (although there was the two day issue after a loss to Memphis to start out the month).  He's vastly more skilled than Shaq but not a 7 foot behemoth.

Also, for player of the decade - its between Kobe and Duncan.  Shaq hasn't even been in the best player on his team debate since 2004 and at that point it was already Kobe, although admittedly not by much.

 your totally right.....!!!......shaq shoots more 
out of his mouth,then his out sides shots,shaq is clearly 
a shit starter!!!

3/10/10   |   reevbel   |   9 respect

reevbel wrote:
I THINK SHAQ HAS BEEN MORE IMPORTANT THAN KOBE..DON'T GET ME WRONG, I LIKE BOTH PLAYERS BUT SHAQ HAS BEEN A GREAT ASSET TO ANY TEAM HE'S PLAID WITH.DO YOU REMEMBER THE COMMERCIALS W/SHAQ & HIS MOM WHEN HE WAS A YOUNG PLAYER? I LOVED THEM..

SINCE WRITING MY FIRST POST ON THIS MATTER, I'VE READ MORE ABOUT HOW KOBE & SHAQ TOO..MAYBE KOBE IS A BETTER PLAYER NOW THAN SHAQ BUT, OLD SHAQ HAS DONE SOME GREAT THINGS IN HIS CAREER BUT WE ALL AGE. THEY ARE BOTH GREAT PLAYERS SO, I'LL SAY, THEY ARE (WERE) BOTH IMPORTANT & HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO THE GAME VERY WELL.

2/24/10   |   rogerjuice_24   |   1 respect

Kobe

2/23/10   |   mswoll   |   1 respect

It's obvious to me that this is a bias article all the way through. Shaq has been the most dominant center in the game for the last 10 years. However, I would have to say that both Kobe and Shaq have been equally as important for their respective teams. Kobe may not be the media darling that many hoped for, but that still does not take away from his contribution to the game.  It's often unsettling for people to hate on somebody so much and still watch them succeed. Trust me, I did this with Jordan for many years. When you get past the hate and envy you'll realize how great of a player Kobe is. Until then, enjoy finding miscellaneous (and insignificant ) data to justify your jealousy. What matters the most to these players is the rings they have on their fingers. Like it or not, Kobe's contribution to the ring count is four. Perhaps one day soon, he'll have 5. Meanwhile, it may be wise to channel the hate into something more productive. Then again, it won't matter what we do. One of these gifted teams will be annointed the 2010 Champs.  My bet is on the Lakers (including Kobe).

2/23/10   |   DeCastroLudivina

SIMPLE.......KOOOOBEEEEE!!!!!!!

2/23/10   |   WBKsports   |   366 respect

XERXUS wrote:
for some reason people doubt their talent im glad someone else see the facts as well

 I love watching the Thunder...I love Russell Westbrook's game and Jeff Green has been playing some good ball this season. If you ever play NBA 2K10 use the Thunder if you get a chance. They're fun to play with and still some gamers think the Thunder are not legit.

2/23/10   |   ojekeme1   |   600 respect

Shaq!!!!

2/23/10   |   XERXUS   |   8348 respect

XERXUS wrote:
you have to believe me when i say keep an eye out for the oklahoma city thunder

for some reason people doubt their talent im glad someone else see the facts as well

2/22/10   |   WBKsports   |   366 respect

XERXUS wrote:
you have to believe me when i say keep an eye out for the oklahoma city thunder

 Believe you??? They have a 9 game winning streak and the Durantula has scored at least 25 points in his last 28 games. The Thunder are only 3 games back of the #2 seed in the Western Conference. They have won 12 of their last 15 games...Since XMAS, they are 20-7...Keep both eyes out for the Thunder if you ask me...

2/22/10   |   XERXUS   |   8348 respect

you have to believe me when i say keep an eye out for the oklahoma city thunder

2/21/10   |   reevbel   |   9 respect

drn0iswatr wrote:
For the win = Derek Fisher. 
what??? no takers?

I THINK SHAQ HAS BEEN MORE IMPORTANT THAN KOBE..DON'T GET ME WRONG, I LIKE BOTH PLAYERS BUT SHAQ HAS BEEN A GREAT ASSET TO ANY TEAM HE'S PLAID WITH.DO YOU REMEMBER THE COMMERCIALS W/SHAQ & HIS MOM WHEN HE WAS A YOUNG PLAYER? I LOVED THEM..

2/20/10   |   chantel_chery   |   3 respect

If every body luv the same player,where is the chalenge,

2/20/10   |   chantel_chery   |   3 respect

it"s okay you love Shaq,,,is nothing wrong with that,,, but I love kobeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.
kobe kobe kobe to me

2/19/10   |   BluDevil   |   618 respect

Man, how quickly people forget... Shaq may not mean more to his team now than Kobe means to his, but this is about "over the years". LA would have won those 3 titles at the beginning of the decade without Kobe, but not without Shaq.

When everyone thought the Western Conference was so far superior to the East, Shaq goes to Miami and wins a title with D-Wade.

Shaq is the most dominant player of the decade and meant more to his teams over the past 10 years than Kobe has.... now the next 10? Kobe or LeBron.

2/19/10   |   XERXUS   |   8348 respect

navyman32 wrote:
Totally agree, but think I would rather have Kobe on my team if I had to play a season and playoffs.  Shaq has never been a Bill Russell or Wilt Chamberlain, good for crowds and kids

i agree with you, if it were a choice between the two sorry shaq gotta go gotta go. kobe would be the wise choice, his game is getting better. while shaq game in truth is declining

2/19/10   |   navyman32   |   187 respect

JetsFTW wrote:
They couldn't have become the great players they are today without one another. It's as simple as that.

Totally agree, but think I would rather have Kobe on my team if I had to play a season and playoffs.  Shaq has never been a Bill Russell or Wilt Chamberlain, good for crowds and kids

2/19/10   |   XERXUS   |   8348 respect

By far to me shaq has had a greater impact on a team, almost every team he moved to they have won a ring. his present seemingly demands respect. kobe is a great player but it seems for the most part his impact on the team is not as great.

2/18/10   |   scottchappell   |   212 respect

I think that the commenters should give credit to the person that wrote this. Look how much he wrote and he only has one respect. Give the guy some respect!!!

2/18/10   |   scottchappell   |   212 respect

I think it is obvious that Kobe is more important. Shaq is on a team with Lebron so he is not as important. Kobe has what? Like 5 game winning shots this year. Shaq cannot be your whole team. Kobe of course cannot be a whole team, but he is a recognized superstar. Rewind 5 years and I might pick differently but present time Kobe all the way!!!

2/18/10   |   bobthyman   |   1 respect

Pat wrote:
You understand that the Lakers last year had some pretty good players other than Kobe, right? I mean... Pau Gasol's a pretty decent big man, being 3rd team All-NBA and all that.

i have to say Kobe

2/18/10   |   chantel_chery   |   3 respect

andyballer wrote:
Kobe MVP of 2002 All-Star Game, All-NBA First Team; All-Defensive Second Team, All-NBA Second Team; NBA All-Defensive First Team; NBA All-Interview Second Team and much more awards.

Kobe all the way,

2/18/10   |   andyballer   |   3 respect

Kobe MVP of 2002 All-Star Game, All-NBA First Team; All-Defensive Second Team, All-NBA Second Team; NBA All-Defensive First Team; NBA All-Interview Second Team and much more awards.

2/18/10   |   Gator78   |   7 respect

abac89 wrote:
but he doesnt have that dominant prescence like shaq i mean they came out with a defense jus to try to stop shaq i dont see that happening anytime soon with gasol and maybe not now but a few years back when players saw shaq in the post they would think twice about goin in there he put fear in a lot of guards and centers hearts.

thank you! he is no where near where Shaq was when they played together.  Gasol intimidates no one..Well his facial hair may, but the physical presence is not there.  The Lakers were a very good team last year but not dominant in the paint.

2/18/10   |   abac89   |   758 respect

Pat wrote:
You understand that the Lakers last year had some pretty good players other than Kobe, right? I mean... Pau Gasol's a pretty decent big man, being 3rd team All-NBA and all that.

but he doesnt have that dominant prescence like shaq i mean they came out with a defense jus to try to stop shaq i dont see that happening anytime soon with gasol and maybe not now but a few years back when players saw shaq in the post they would think twice about goin in there he put fear in a lot of guards and centers hearts.

2/18/10   |   Pat   |   5230 respect

Gator78 wrote:
Shaq has won with 2 great gurds, Kobe and Dwayne, and lost in the finals with Penny when they were with the Magic.  Kobe has won without a great big man and he also helps his teammates to player at a higher level than Shaq would help.

You understand that the Lakers last year had some pretty good players other than Kobe, right? I mean... Pau Gasol's a pretty decent big man, being 3rd team All-NBA and all that.

2/18/10   |   WBKsports   |   366 respect

 I just want them back together...I miss the good old days...The atmosphere that Shaq created at Staples and throughout Southern California during his tenure was phenomenal. Kobe has Iconic "God-Like" abilities both on the court and in the media. I think both have been beneficial to their teams from an athletic perspective, but also from a marketing viewpoint. Both sell those tickets each night, and both have NBA Championship pedigrees. You posed a great question Ari, but it's hard to pick..

I'll still take Shaq on my team any day...He's a legend! In my dreams I'm  wishing that Kobe wins  # 5 this season and then maybe Shaq might want to come back to L.A. and pick up another one for himself in Los Angeles...Kobe 6 to Shaq's 5...

I just wish they never broke up...My heart is still broken since the Summer of 2004...

2/18/10   |   Gator78   |   7 respect

Shaq has won with 2 great gurds, Kobe and Dwayne, and lost in the finals with Penny when they were with the Magic.  Kobe has won without a great big man and he also helps his teammates to player at a higher level than Shaq would help.

2/18/10   |   ProfessorPlum   |   15 respect

Who would you rather have on your "team" while off the court?

Shaq starred in the greatest film of all time with his portrayal of a friendly urban genie in 1996's oscar award-winning Kazaam.

My point being Shaq>Kobe on or off the court.

2/18/10   |   JetsFTW   |   17 respect

They couldn't have become the great players they are today without one another. It's as simple as that.

2/18/10   |   PoppyGrande   |   55 respect

Shaq has taken 3 different teams to the finals and two of those 3 won Championships.As much as I like Kobe,Shaq has had more of an impact on the teams he has played for.

2/18/10   |   TheRoss   |   356 respect

Obviously now Kobe is, but both players in their prime, I'll take Shaq.

2/18/10   |   drn0iswatr   |   731 respect

For the win = Derek Fisher. 
what??? no takers?

2/18/10   |   kantwistaye   |   4211 respect

Shaq - so valuable that 3 straight teams have felt the need to rid themselves of him!

In all seriousness, they have their advantages and disadvantages.  Shaq tears up locker rooms and doesn't give a damn 50% of the time.  He's also possibly the most dominant player with 3 to 5 feet of the hoop of all time.  He has no skills outside of that however.

Kobe can tear up the locker room, although outside of Shaq he's never had any true team splitting issues (although there was the two day issue after a loss to Memphis to start out the month).  He's vastly more skilled than Shaq but not a 7 foot behemoth.

Also, for player of the decade - its between Kobe and Duncan.  Shaq hasn't even been in the best player on his team debate since 2004 and at that point it was already Kobe, although admittedly not by much.