And if you take out all of Shaq's rings, Kobe still has more rings than Dirk.
I'm not sure we're giving Dirk enough credit for staying with the Mavs through it all and I've never heard one bad thing about him. Personally, I just find it easier to get others to play with Dirk. He's not going to dominate the ball and he's an absolute savage when it matters (one of the few players who actually improves in the playoffs). I just think about it from the perspective if Dirk had Shaq early on in his career. Shaq probably wouldn't have left and they would have continued winning for a longer duration.
Yes i get that Kobe's alpha personality and ball dominance requires a specific mix of players but it's not like you couldn't. Kobe's had two lasting title runs with 2 totally different lineups throughout his career.
I really don't understand the premise of your argument.
And you keep forgetting he played with Shaq and his second stint was still a very solid team. Pau Gasol was an absolute animal. Who did Dirk play with?
00 Playoffs - 30.7/15.4/3.1/2.4/0.6 - .566 TS%, 31.4 Usage, 25.0 Game Score, 115 ORtg
01 Playoffs - 30.4/15.4/3.2/2.4/0.4 - .564 TS%, 32.1 Usage, 24.1 Game Score, 113 ORtg
02 Playoffs - 28.5/12.6/2.8/2.5/0.5 - .569 TS%, 31.5 Usage, 22.0 Game Score, 112 ORtg
00 Playoffs - 21.1/4.5/4.4/1.5/1.5 - .517 TS%, 26.7 Usage, 14.5 Game Score, 107 ORtg (missed a game in the Finals that they won)
01 Playoffs - 29.4/7.3/6.1/0.8/1.6 - .555 TS%, 30.4 Usage, 22.0 Game Score, 116 ORtg
02 Playoffs - 26.6/5.8/4.6/0.9/1.4 - .511 TS%, 30.1 Usage, 17.3 Game Score, 107 ORtg
He had little to do with 2000. Not nearly as productive as Shaq in 02 but shot more than he should have. You could possibly argue 01 he nearly equally as important through that run. But Shaq didn't need Kobe. But Kobe needed Shaq.
I get the Dirk loyalty argument and maybe Shaq wouldn't have left, but whose to say they win more than 3 titles with Shaq getting lazy and fat? Heck, when Shaq/Kobe were winning their first ring Dirk was averaging 17.5/6.5 in his second season. The Lakers likely lose that WCF to the Blazers.
It's possible Shaq may reduced Dirk's effectiveness and reduce him to just a shooter. Part of Dirk's game is his ability to take you inside and outside. He uses either or to set you up. With shaq I'm not saying he still can't do that, but the spacing would be more clogged for him to maximize that strategy. But him and Shaq in the triangle would be filthy as both have good feel as passers, so you never know how Phil would utilize them. The possibilities are intriguing.
1) That wasn't the same Steve Nash. Stop. There was a clear difference in Nash's development and he far from the MVP-caliber player we saw in Phoenix with such a stacked offensive squad. Dallas never had that at the time so it's not even fair to equate Nash in his Dallas days to Phoenix. By your logic, did Isaiah Thomas just get better or was he always this good? He's fairly old for someone who just became an elite player but he has improved significantly and there is no debate regarding that.
2) Fat Shaq was still a beast in 2004 to 2006 and Dirk was playing at such a high level then. Remember, they made the NBA Finals and if not for Wade going historically GOAT levels at the NBA Finals, Dirk would have essentially carried a team like Hakeem did with Houston.
3) Dirk averaging 17.5/6.5 was nothing to scoff at. Kobe got easier touches with Shaq being there so that definitely plays a role. Shaq allowed Kobe to develop at his own pace whereas other players such as LeBron had to be the go-to guy right out of the league. Not to mention that Dirk would have fit exceptionally well with Shaq because he would draw frontcourt defenders away and no one doubles Shaq with Dirk in the perimeter.
4) Even though Nash was a very good player, please don't act like Pau Gasol wouldn't be the best player Dirk would have played with. The simple fact is Kobe has had more help by virtue of the Lakers organization. It would really be difficult to build around Kobe when he trashtalks half the players he has played with. Hell, even the CURRENT team, they hated Kobe. When they said Kobe will "mentor" them, I already knew it was a bad move. Kobe is not a mentor because he'll project his level of play with an average player. D'Angelo said there was more freedom with Kobe gone.. Who the hell says those things? Answer: Someone who doesn't have respect for another.
I'm still amazed how much you guys forget Shaq dominated. Literally, you stuff Shaq with another All-Star quality player and you were favorites to win a ring. I can't imagine a scenario in which Allen Iverson, Dirk Nowitzki, and KG don't win three rings without prime Shaq. That's absurd. Prime LeBron and prime Shaq would probably be tormenting the league like no one would imagine.