FanPost

How many championships has Kobe won without .... blah blah blah

I was browsing through one of my favorite blogs the other day. Perhaps you know it, its called Silver Screen and Roll. There is some great stuff there. The writers put out fantastic articles about everything Lakers, that you won't get anywhere else on the Internet. I was having a hell of a time reading through comments, until I stumbled on this:

"..... How many championships has Bryant won without either Shaq or Gasol?"

I get SSSSOOOOO tired of this argument.

(And I'm not trying to call out this user. I'm just stating my opinion about this issue, that has been brought up many times before) 

This question popped up in another thread and I started to make a response. However, I got a little carried away, and after a while, I realized it was several paragraphs long. So I decided to turn it into a FanPost, so that it would get a little more attention than sitting in a FanPost that is 9 days old.

How many championships has Shaq or Gasol won without Kobe or Wade? This argument could go back and forthfor hours. Nobody knows what would happen or how many championships a single player could win alone, because every team is made up of multiple players, and 5 of those players have to be on the court at the same time. 1 Player cannot carry a single team. And as you will see below, not even great players like Michael Jordan or Magic Johnson were able to carry a team on their own.

Every GM, well almost every GM (KKKKAAAAAHHHHHNNNN), is going to try and put the best 5 guys out on the court to try and win that championship. A single player cannot carry an entire team. It just isn't going to happen in the NBA. With so much talent in the league, every championship team needs 2 or 3 guys to carry the team to a championship.


So, to kick things off, let me ask you a question. When has any player in the history of the NBA won a championship without another perennial All-Star on his team to help carry the load? Let's take a look.


Below, I will list the Championship team of a certain year, followed by the top 2 or 3 players of that said team. I will also take a look to see if any of those players listed were on the All-Star team or the All-NBA team. (Bear with me, it is going to be quite a long list, as I am going back 20+ years of past Champions)

2009-2010 - Los Angeles Lakers
Kobe Bryant - 27.0 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 5.0 apg, 1.5 spg
Pau Gasol - 18.3 ppg, 11.3 rpg, 3.4 apg, 1.7 bpg
Both were named to the All-Star team, while Kobe earned 1st team All-NBA honors & Pau getting named to the 3rd team.

2008-2009 - Los Angeles Lakers
Kobe Bryant - 26.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 4.9 apg, 1.5 spg
Pau Gasol - 18.9 ppg, 9.6 rpg, 3.5 apg, 1.0 bpg
Both were named to the All-Star team, while Kobe earned 1st team All-NBA honors & Pau getting named to the 3rd team.

2007-2008 - Boston Celtics
Paul Pierce - 19.6 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 4.5 apg, 1.3 spg
Kevin Garnett - 18.8 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 3.4 apg, 1.3 bpg
Ray Allen - 17.4 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 3.1 apg
All three were named to the All-Star team, while Garnett earned 1st team All-NBA honors & Pierce getting name to the 3rd team.

2006-2007 - San Antonio Spurs
Tim Duncan - 20.0 ppg, 10.6 rpg, 3.4 apg, 2.4 bpg
Tony Parker - 18.6 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 5.5 apg, 1.1 spg
Manu Ginobili - 16.5 ppg, 4.4rpg, 3.5 apg, 1.5 spg
Duncan and Parker were named to the All-Star team, while Duncan earned 1st team All-NBA honors.

2005-2006 - Miami Heat
Dwyane Wade - 27.2 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 6.7rpg, 1.9 spg
Shaquille O'Neal - 20.1 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 1.8 bpg
Both were named to the All-Star team, while Shaq earned 1st team All-NBA honors & Wade getting named to the 2nd team.

2004-2005 - San Antonio Spurs
Tim Duncan - 20.3 ppg, 11.1 rpg, 2.7 apg, 2.6 bpg
Tony Parker - 16.6 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 6.1 apg, 1.2 spg
Manu Ginobili - 16.0 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 3.9 apg, 1.6 spg
Duncan and Ginobili were named to the All-Star team, while Duncan earned 1st team All-NBA honors.

2003-2004 - Detroit Pistons
Richard Hamilton - 17.6 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 4.0 apg, 1.3 spg
Chauncey Billups - 16.9 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 5.7 apg, 1.1 spg
Ben Wallace - 9.5 ppg, 12.4 rpg, 3.0 bpg
Billups & Wallace were named tothe All-Star team, while Wallace earned 2nd team All-NBA honors.

2002-2003 - San Antonio Spurs
Tim Duncan - 23.3 ppg, 12.9 rpg, 3.9 apg, 2.9 bpg
Tony Parker - 15.5 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 5.3 apg
Duncan was named to the All-Star team, and earned 1st team All-NBA honors.

2001-2002 - Los Angeles Lakers
Shaquille O'Neal - 27.2 ppg, 10.7 rpg, 3.0 apg, 2.0 bpg
Kobe Bryant - 25.2 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 5.5 apg, 1.5 spg
Both were named to the All-Star team (though Shaq didn't play due to injury), and both earned 1st team All-NBA honors.

2000 -2001 - Los Angeles Lakers
Shaquille O'Neal - 28.7 ppg, 12.7 rpg, 3.7 apg, 2.8 bpg
Kobe Bryant - 28.5 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 5.0 apg, 1.7 spg
Both were named to the All-Star team (though Shaq didn't play due to injury), while Shaq earned 1st team All-NBA honors & Kobe getting named to the 2nd team.

1999-2000 - Los Angeles Lakers
Shaquille O'Neal - 29.7 ppg, 13.6 rpg, 3.8 apg, 3.0 bpg
Kobe Bryant - 22.5 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 4.9 apg, 1.6 spg
Both were named to the All-Star team, while Shaq earned 1st team All-NBA honors & Kobe getting named to the 2nd team.

1998-1999 - San Antonio Spurs
Tim Duncan - 21.7 ppg, 11.4 rpg, 2.4 apg, 2.5 bpg
David Robinson - 15.8 ppg, 10.0 rpg, 2.1 apg, 2.4 bpg
There was no All-Star game this year, and Duncan earned 1st team All-NBA honors.

1997-1998 - Chicago Bulls
Michael Jordan - 28.7 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 3.5 apg, 1.7 spg
Scottie Pippen - 19.1 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 5.8 apg, 1.8 spg
Both were named to the All-Star team (though Pippen didn't play due to injury), while Jordan earned 1st team All-NBA honors & Pippen getting named to the 3rd team.

1996-1997 - Chicago Bulls
Michael Jordan - 29.6 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 4.3 apg, 1.7 spg
Scottie Pippen - 20.2 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 5.7 apg, 1.9 spg
Both were named to the All-Star team, while Jordan earned 1st team All-NBA honors & Pippen getting named to the 2nd team.

1995-1996 - Chicago Bulls
Michael Jordan - 30.4 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 4.3 apg, 2.2 spg
Scottie Pippen - 19.4 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 5.9 apg, 1.7 spg
Both were named to the All-Star team, and both earned 1st team All-NBA honors.

1994-1995 - Houston Rockets
Hakeem Olajuwon - 27.8 ppg, 10.8 rpg, 3.5 apg, 3.4 bpg
Clyde Drexler - 21.4 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 4.4 apg, 1.8 spg
Hakeem was named to the All-Star team, while both earned 3rd team All-NBA honors.

1993-1994 - Houston Rockets
Hakeem Olajuwon - 27.3 ppg, 11.9 rpg, 3.6 apg, 3.7 bpg
Otis Thorpe - 14.0 ppg, 10.6 rpg, 2.3 apg
Vernon Maxwell - 13.6 ppg, 5.1 apg, 1.7 spg
Hakeem was named to the All-Star team, and earned 1st team All-NBA honors.

1992-1993 - Chicago Bulls
Michael Jordan - 32.6 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 5.5 apg, 2.8 spg
Scottie Pippen - 18.6 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 6.3 apg, 2.1 spg
Both were named to the All-Star team, while Jordan earned 1st team All-NBA honors & Pippen getting named to the 3rd team.

1991-1992 - Chicago Bulls
Michael Jordan - 30.1 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 6.1 apg, 2.3 spg
Scottie Pippen - 21.0 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 7.0 apg, 1.9 spg
Both were named to the All-Star team, while Jordan earned 1st team All-NBA honors & Pippen getting named to the 2nd team.

1990-1991 - Chicago Bulls
Michael Jordan - 31.5 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 5.6 apg, 2.7 spg
Scottie Pippen - 17.8 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 6.2 apg, 2.4 spg
Jordan was named to the All-Star team, and earned 1st team All-NBA honors.

1989-1990 - Detroit Pistons
Isiah Thomas - 18.4 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 9.4 apg, 1.7 spg
Joe Dumars - 17.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 4.9 apg
Dennis Rodman - 8.8 ppg, 9.7 rpg
All three were named to the All-Star team, while Dumars earned 3rd team All-NBA honors.

1988-1989 - Detroit Pistons
Adrian Dantley - 18.4 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 2.2 apg
Isiah Thomas - 18.2 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 8.3 apg, 1.7 spg
Joe Dumars - 17.2 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 5.7 apg
Thomas & Dumars were named to the All-Star team (though Dumars did not play due to injury).

1987-1988 - Los Angeles Lakers
Byron Scott - 21.7 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 4.1 apg, 1.9 spg
James Worthy - 19.7 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 3.9 apg, 1.0 spg
Magic Johnson - 19.6 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 11.9 apg, 1.6 spg
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - 14.6 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 1.2 bpg
Worthy, Magic & Kareem were named to the All-Star team, while Magic earned 1st team All-NBA honors.

Okay, I'll stop there............ As I look through that list, I see 2 teams with only 1 All-Star or All-NBA player on it. That is the 2002-2003 San Antonio Spurs and the 1993-1994 Houston Rockets. However, cases can be made for both teams to disprove the point that Tim Duncan and Hakeem Olajuwon single-handedly carried their teams to the championship.

Tim Duncan may have been the only player named to the All-Star team that year, but this team was filled with superb talent. Tony Parker was in his 2nd year, and could have made it to the All-Star team, had he been more known by fans around the league. Steve Francis, Steve Nash & Gary Payton were much bigger names at the time. Also on the team was former All-Star David Robinson and future All-Star Manu Ginobili. They also had solid play from Stephen Jackson, Malike Rose & Bruce Bowen. They also had Steve Smith coming off the bench. This team featured 4 players, not named Robinson or Ginobili, who averaged double digit points a game. Duncan had a ton of help on this team.

With this next team, it is a little bit harder to see the talent around Hakeem Olajuwon, but it is there. However, this may be the only team I would consider to only have 1 true star on it. Otis Thorpe, Vernon Maxwell, and Chris Jent may not be house hold names, but they were great players for this team. Those 3 players, along with Hakeem and Kenny Smith, all averaged double digit points a game. This team also had young future stars in Robert Horry, Sam Cassell and Mario Elie on the team. Hakeem may have been the one true star on this team, but he did have help around him.

So, after all that, the only player that I can honestly say has won a championship without any other All-Stars on his team, is:

Hakeem Olajuwon.

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Another point that was made in the FanPost, that I didn't agree with, was:

"Why no love for Pau Gasol? .....

It puzzles me that even the most rabid Lakers fans do not suggest Pau Gasol for MVP. Why not?"

This also baffles me. When have any other clear cut #2's (the second option on offense), throughout NBA history, been mentioned in the MVP race.....

Below I will list the second offensive options on each Championship team, and then the top 5 players in the MVP race that year, with the eventual MVP listed in bold & italic. If there is a case where a #2 scoring option is in the MVP race, i will list their names in italic.

Pau Gasol - Los Angeles Lakers
(2009-2010) Lebron James, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Dwyane Wade
(2008-2009) Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Dwight Howard, Chris Paul

Paul Pierce - Boston Celtics
(2007-2008) Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Kevin Garnett, Lebron James, Dwight Howard

Tony Parker - San Antonio Spurs
(2006-2007) Dirk Nowitski (Kobe Bryant), Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Lebron James
(2004-2005) Steve Nash, Shaquille O'Neal, Dirk Nowitski, Tim Duncan, Allen Iverson
(2002-2003) Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady, Shaquille O'Neal

Shaquille O'Neal - Miami Heat
(2005-2006) Steve Nash (Kobe Bryant), Lebron James, Dirk Nowitski, Kobe Bryant, Chauncey Billups

Chauncey Billups - Detroit Pistons
(2003-2004) Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan, Jermaine O'Neal, Peja Stojoaovic, Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant - Los Angeles Lakers
(2001-2002) Tim Duncan, Jason Kidd, Shaquille O'Neal, Tracy McGrady, Kobe Bryant
(2000-2001) Allen Iverson, Tim Duncan, Shaquille O'Neal, Chris Webber, Kevin Garnett
(1999-2000) Shaquille O'Neal, Kevin Garnett, Alonzo Mourning, Karl Malone, Tim Duncan

David Robinson - San Antonio Spurs
(1998-1999) Tim Duncan, Karl Malone, Shaquille O'Neal, Alonzo Mourning, Grant Hill

Scottie Pippen - Chicago Bulls
(1997-1998) Michael Jordan, Karl Malone, Gary Payton, Shaquille O'Neal, Tim Duncan
(1996-1997) Karl Malone, Michael Jordan, Grant Hill, Tim Hardaway, Glen Rice
(1995-1996) Michael Jordan, David Robinson, Anfernee Hardaway, Hakeem Olajuwon, Scottie Pippen
(1992-1993) Charles Barkely, Hakeem Olajuwon, Micheal Jordan, Patrick Ewing, Dominique Wilkins
(1991-1992) Michael Jordan, Clyde Drexler, David Robinson, Karl Malone, Patrick Ewing
(1990-1991) Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, David Robinson, Charles Barkley, Karl Malone

Clyde Drexler - Houston Rockets
(1994-1995) David Robinson, Shaquille O'Neal, Karl Malone, Patrick Ewing, Hakeem Olajuwon

Otis Thorpe - Houston Rockets
(1993-1994) Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson, Scottie Pippen, Shaquille O'Neal, Patrick Ewing

Joe Dumars - Detroit Pistons
(1989-1990) Magic Johnson, Charles Barkley, Michael Jordan, Karl Malone, Patrick Ewing
(1988-1989) Magic johnson, Michael Jordan, Karl Malone, Patrick Ewing, Hakeem Olajuwon 

James Worthy - Los Angeles Lakers
(1987-1988) Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Charles Barkley, Clyde Drexler

 

Again, I'm not going any farther than that.....


A second option on a team has been in the MVP race in the past 20+ years, only twice. And in both these cases, it is not a clear cut #2. Both of these cases can be put into the category of where the offense has a #1A option & a #1B option. And in both of these cases, that so-called #2 option could have even been considered the #1 option for parts of the season. Let's take a look.

Kobe Bryant was in the MVP race in 2001-2002, along with his teammate Shaquille O'Neal, but many will consider that season a time period when Kobe was starting to become the #1 option for the Lakers. At the very least, it was a #1A & a #1B offense. Both players averaged over 25 points a game. I would definitely consider that a case where there isn't a clear cut #1 option.

The other time is not so clear cut. This may be the only time I would say that a clear cut #2 option was in the top 5 for the MVP race. In 1995-1996, Scottie Pippen was in the MVP race, along with his teamate Michael Jordan, after Jordan's return to basketball. Pippen had been the #1 offensive option while Jordan was away for two years, so there was probably a small transition period where jordan became the #1 option. Jordan averaged over 30 points, while Pippen was a shade under 20. And even in this case, Pippen was in 5th place in the MVP voting.

This #1A & #1B, has only happened a couple times in the past 20+ years for championship teams. Where the #1A option scores over 25 points a game, and the #1B option scores over 20 points a game. And it didn't always compute to MVP votes either. Besides for the two times mentioned above, see below for how many other times this has happened.


Miami heat
- In 2005-2006, Dwyane Wade averaged 27.2 ppg, while Shaquille O'Neal averaged 20.1 ppg. Wade was 6th in the MVP voting & Shaq didn't receive a single vote.

Los Angeles Lakers
- In 2000-2001, Shaquille O'Neal averaged 28.7 ppg, while Kobe Bryant averaged 28.5 ppg. This is probably the greatest definition of a #1A & a #1B. Shaq finished 3rd in the MVP voting, while Kobe came in 9th.
- In 1999-2000, Shaq averaged 29.7 ppg, while Kobe averaged 22.5 ppg. Shaq won the MVP, while Kobe came in 12th.

Chicago Bulls
- In 1997-1998, Michael Jordan averaged  28.7 ppg, while Scottie Pippen averaged 20.1 ppg. Jordan won the MVP, while Pippen came in 10th.
- In 1996-1997, Jordan averaged 29.6 ppg, while Pippen averaged 20.2 ppg. Jordan finished 2nd in the the MVP voting, while Pippen came in 11th. 
- In 1991-1992, Jordan averaged 30.1 ppg, while Pippen averaged 21.0 ppg. Jordan finished 3rd in the MVP voting, while Pippen didnt even receive a single vote.

Houston Rockets
- In 1994-1995, Hakeem Olajuwon averaged 27.8 ppg, while Clyde Drexler scored 21.4 ppg. Olajuwon came in 5th in the MVP voting, while Clyde came in 14th.

 

And as you can see above, even when there is a #1A and a #1B option on offense, it doesn't necessarily mean that both players will be in contention for the MVP. There is not one instance in the block quote above where both players were in the top 5 for the MVP.

So, after all that, the only player that I can honestly say that has been in the top 5 in MVP votes, while being the clear cut #2 scoring option, is:

Scottie Pippen.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Does this mean that Scottie Pippen and Hakeem Olajuwon are two of the greatest players in the history of the NBA?

Yes, but we'll let you discuss that one. I don't want to pull a Josh Tucker on you guys/gals.

 

Thanks for reading.

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