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View Full Version : What if Shaq had corrected his toe problem in 03, could they have landed Bron, Wade?



Chronz
03-10-2014, 02:17 PM
During the 2002 off-season, Shaq was nursing a problematic toe joint, he was actively trying different methods to resolve the problem without surgery, as he had played through the degrading toe for years before. Deciding that he could no longer play with the uncertainty and pain, it was decided that corrective surgery would be required. 3 different specialists arrived at 3 different conclusions. Throughout the decision making process, Shaq phoned NFL athletes who had gone through the process.

3 options, each one with differing strengths and recovery time tables. The most extreme of which, could potentially eliminate the problem but would take him out for the entire season. He chose the middle ground, among the most effective and with the 2nd longest recovery, allowing him to return to action that same year. Moments before the surgery however, Shaq was battling a virus, a 103 degree fever. After much deliberation and external obstacles, Shaq underwent the surgery and was derided for taking so long to get it done. Imagine that, the ignorant telling him how to take care of his body despite being the athlete who takes the most punishment in the game. Shaq was understandably angry, this anger is what precipitated the "Heal on company time" comment.


As Shaq recovered, the Lakers floundered in his absence, stumbling to a 3-9 start. Mitch Kupchak had inherited a championship team from Jerry West and allowed the supporting cast to degrade. Poor Kobe was a 1 man show, averaging his 30PPG but at a very inefficient rate (.498 TS%, 102 ORTG). Without Shaq, it seemed the team was simply not playoff worthy, hell they didn't even look like a .400 squad, not with the likes of Samaki Walker anchoring the Defense. This squad was worse than the teams Kobe had to put up with during his 3 years of solitude and that was with a prime Kobe. So it goes without saying that this was a lotto team, just how bad, I dont know, but this was a great draft to be bad in.

Notable picks that year: Bron, Darko, Melo, Bosh, Wade, Kaman, Hinrich, David West.


So for the sake of argument, lets say Shaq had been out all year and made a successful recovery the following year, allowing him to extend his prime and giving the inept Kupchak a valuable asset to play with.

Obviously who they draft depends on how bad you think they are, their needs, and the luck of the bounce. Landing Bron is a longshot, even guys like Bosh, Wade or West would be tremendous additions to a championship core, hell they could even trade the pick for proven players. Whatever you think they do, its highly unlikely that anything else changes with their off-season additions of GP and Malone. The Lakers as they were, drafted a shooting PF in Brian Cook and a passing SF in Walton. So barring a miracle its likely they would have targeted Chris Bosh IMO.

Most importantly however, they have prime Shaq back. The best possible team for them would have included Bron, but outside of that, who do you think would have helped them the most, LONG TERM.


What would it take for them to regain their championship form and would it have saved the Lakers from breaking up their dynasty? How would Kobe have handled the season and addition of a potential new star? Can you imagine the ramifications for the league? It would be like the years the Lakers added Magic and then Worthy to already imposing teams.

Tony_Starks
03-10-2014, 05:03 PM
Well the time he was out is a pretty small sample size, especially for a team trying to make 4 straight Finals. But for arguments sake I'm of the opinion Phil couldve still took a Shaqless LA to the playoffs.

You said that was worse than the team after Shaq left but I beg to differ. I'd take the likes of D Fish, Horry, Fox, B Shaw, Horace Grant over Smush, Kwame, Walton, Cook and company any ol damn day of the week.

If Phil could get that rag tag team of misfits to 42 wins in a stacked West it's not hard for me to imagine he couldve figured it out eventually with Kobe and a team of season vets. He's never missed the playoffs.

numba1CHANGsta
03-10-2014, 05:05 PM
The team would have still made the playoffs, so highly doubt it

Chronz
03-10-2014, 05:33 PM
Well the time he was out is a pretty small sample size, especially for a team trying to make 4 straight Finals. But for arguments sake I'm of the opinion Phil couldve still took a Shaqless LA to the playoffs.

You said that was worse than the team after Shaq left but I beg to differ. I'd take the likes of D Fish, Horry, Fox, B Shaw, Horace Grant over Smush, Kwame, Walton, Cook and company any ol damn day of the week.

If Phil could get that rag tag team of misfits to 42 wins in a stacked West it's not hard for me to imagine he couldve figured it out eventually with Kobe and a team of season vets. He's never missed the playoffs.


You do realize that them being a team thats physically and emotionally spent from those arduous runs only helps my argument, right? And your memory of the Lakers roster fails you, they actually didn't have Horace Grant that season.

Fox was a year away from retirement, whos defense had slipped considerably, making his lack of production finally a detriment to the team. Shaw retired even sooner and immediately began pursuing coaching, hes not changing any teams fortune so lets stick to the relevant guys. Which would have included Horace Grant, had he been on the team. But this was the year he was helping Tmac to a .500 record in the East IIRC, right before becoming a backup for the 04 Lakers and soon retiring.

That leaves Fish and Horry, guys you would rather have than the "misfits", and for the most part I would agree. I think you underrate Walton tho. But its pretty glaring that you dont name Kobe's best sidekick those years in Odom, the guy who was both more talented and more productive than any of the guys you listed, I wonder why :rolleyes: .

You could also bring up Caron Butler as a candidate. And say what you will about Kwame, but he was capable of defending bigmen 1 on 1 and is a VAST improvement on Samaki Walker, Kwame helped the teams defense and helped them make it at least average, an improvement on the last place showing the year prior. When you make more of a direct comparison of the make up of the team, I dont see any argument to support your stance. Like you said, Phil barely got that team to 42 wins, and that was with Kobe having to pour in 35 a night, so even if you think the talent alongside Kobe is comparable (which its not), you dont have a more developed Kobe Bryant leading them in 2003. You have the guy about to hit a downside in his career, both on and off the court.

Those misfits were actually more talented/productive than the 03 supporting cast and were led by a superior version of Kobe.

Chronz
03-10-2014, 05:33 PM
The team would have still made the playoffs, so highly doubt it
What makes you so confident?

And for arguments sake, what would their record have been?

beliges
03-10-2014, 07:07 PM
What makes you so confident?

And for arguments sake, what would their record have been?

Because Kobe has proven that he makes the playoffs with any roster so long as he is healthy.

In 06 and 07 the Lakers from top to bottom had one of the worst rosters in the league but the Lakers still managed to make the playoffs in a historically tough Western Conference.

MTar786
03-10-2014, 07:18 PM
the lakers would have ended up getting melo or bosh. melo if they were very lucky and bosh if they were just lucky. they wouldn't have drafted at any other position.. if they were stupid they would have drafted hinrich. then again hinrich was pretty good his first few years too. and he's the perfect point guard in a phil offense. defensive shooter with height at his position.

Bruno
03-10-2014, 07:21 PM
interesting thread Chronz.

Its easy to say now, but he totally should have just taken the year off. Jordan did it after his first three-peat. not only would his toe have been fixed but it would have been 100 less grueling games under his belt too. I think Shaq could have been 'Shaq' until at least 2006 or 2007, and I think he could have been the Shaq we saw in Miami from 2007 until 2011, 2012ish.

with that being said, I think Kobe pushes the Lakers out of the bottom five spots. it would have taken some luck of the lottery ball to get them a top five pick. that roster was hallow garbage (even the previously awesome role players were getting long in the tooth), but I think there still would have been at least five teams who would have put up a worse record than the Phil and Kobe led Lakers. could they have finished 7th-10th and been lucky enough to get #5? totally could have happened, happens all the time.

that would have been brilliant Chronz. Kobe would have had the opportunity to lead the Lakers, he would have gotten it out of his system. he would have gotten humbled and maybe he'd appreciate Shaq more for being his guy. and at the same time Shaq would have dealt with the reality of his mortality for the year; the whole thing would have humbled them out and made them both more grateful for one another, and thats what those two needed more than anything. Shaq would eventually and humbly passed Kobe the reigns around 2006- as we saw he did with Wade.

Bruno
03-10-2014, 07:24 PM
they'd both have more titles than they do today I think.

Bruno
03-10-2014, 07:29 PM
Shaq/Kobe/Wade (5th pick)? would have been competing for championships every year through 2011. they could have won em at a 50% clip and still walked away with four championships between 2004 and 2011.

Chronz
03-10-2014, 08:45 PM
Because Kobe has proven that he makes the playoffs with any roster so long as he is healthy.

In 06 and 07 the Lakers from top to bottom had one of the worst rosters in the league but the Lakers still managed to make the playoffs in a historically tough Western Conference.
But that team was more talented than what he had in 03 minus Shaq, its was also led by a better version of Kobe. And they barely cracked .500

And Kobe was healthy in 05, the Lakers actually spiraled out of the playoffs once Odom went down with injury. Kobe was around when the Lakers closed the season something like 3-19

Kaner
03-10-2014, 10:06 PM
I wonder if they had Carmelo or Lebron when Shaq vs Kobe went down if they would have sided with Shaq especially if he was fully healthy

Chronz
03-10-2014, 10:17 PM
I wonder if they had Carmelo or Lebron when Shaq vs Kobe went down if they would have sided with Shaq especially if he was fully healthy

Interesting plot twist

WES KOAST
03-10-2014, 10:21 PM
During the 2002 off-season, Shaq was nursing a problematic toe joint, he was actively trying different methods to resolve the problem without surgery, as he had played through the degrading toe for years before. Deciding that he could no longer play with the uncertainty and pain, it was decided that corrective surgery would be required. 3 different specialists arrived at 3 different conclusions. Throughout the decision making process, Shaq phoned NFL athletes who had gone through the process.

3 options, each one with differing strengths and recovery time tables. The most extreme of which, could potentially eliminate the problem but would take him out for the entire season. He chose the middle ground, among the most effective and with the 2nd longest recovery, allowing him to return to action that same year. Moments before the surgery however, Shaq was battling a virus, a 103 degree fever. After much deliberation and external obstacles, Shaq underwent the surgery and was derided for taking so long to get it done. Imagine that, the ignorant telling him how to take care of his body despite being the athlete who takes the most punishment in the game. Shaq was understandably angry, this anger is what precipitated the "Heal on company time" comment.


As Shaq recovered, the Lakers floundered in his absence, stumbling to a 3-9 start. Mitch Kupchak had inherited a championship team from Jerry West and allowed the supporting cast to degrade. Poor Kobe was a 1 man show, averaging his 30PPG but at a very inefficient rate (.498 TS%, 102 ORTG). Without Shaq, it seemed the team was simply not playoff worthy, hell they didn't even look like a .400 squad, not with the likes of Samaki Walker anchoring the Defense. This squad was worse than the teams Kobe had to put up with during his 3 years of solitude and that was with a prime Kobe. So it goes without saying that this was a lotto team, just how bad, I dont know, but this was a great draft to be bad in.

Notable picks that year: Bron, Darko, Melo, Bosh, Wade, Kaman, Hinrich, David West.


So for the sake of argument, lets say Shaq had been out all year and made a successful recovery the following year, allowing him to extend his prime and giving the inept Kupchak a valuable asset to play with.

Obviously who they draft depends on how bad you think they are, their needs, and the luck of the bounce. Landing Bron is a longshot, even guys like Bosh, Wade or West would be tremendous additions to a championship core, hell they could even trade the pick for proven players. Whatever you think they do, its highly unlikely that anything else changes with their off-season additions of GP and Malone. The Lakers as they were, drafted a shooting PF in Brian Cook and a passing SF in Walton. So barring a miracle its likely they would have targeted Chris Bosh IMO.

Most importantly however, they have prime Shaq back. The best possible team for them would have included Bron, but outside of that, who do you think would have helped them the most, LONG TERM.


What would it take for them to regain their championship form and would it have saved the Lakers from breaking up their dynasty? How would Kobe have handled the season and addition of a potential new star? Can you imagine the ramifications for the league? It would be like the years the Lakers added Magic and then Worthy to already imposing teams.

based on the length of your post, you like to talk a lot in bed when ur with a woman. assuming u like women.

WES KOAST
03-10-2014, 10:23 PM
Interesting plot twist

in 03 if I only had bought apple stocks...

Kaner
03-10-2014, 10:23 PM
Interesting plot twist

Nah the plot twist is when the Lakers trade Kobe for the talented rookie pg on miami

slashsnake
03-11-2014, 07:03 AM
Interesting thought. We would be talking 30 or fewer wins to be in the top 7 teams. They were 6-10 without Shaq starting, so that would be on pace for 30-31 wins.

I think one thing which may factor into this is would the Lakers be better without Shaq if they knew and prepared to be without Shaq. So even a .400 squad would most likely be looking at Hinrich, Kaman, Pietrus, Ford, or Hayes type guys without a lot of luck.