While the Golden State Warriors have been on this magical run, a popular topic has been how they'd match up against some of the other greatest teams of all time. Players from those eras are being pulled from all over the place to give their two cents on the matter, the latest of which are a couple great Los Angeles Lakers centers: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Spoiler Alert: His take isn't all that surprising.
"I really have to go out and play the game with the players to find out what is what."
Groundbreaking stuff, Cap. He continues.
"I think the Showtime team had guys on that team who could defend on the perimeter. Guys don't go to college. They don't learn how to play defense out, away from the basket," said Abdul-Jabbar. "It's always an offensive game now. They wanted to see more scoring, so they eliminated handchecking. So now it's very hard to guard people away from the basket. So I think that's difference and the way the game is played really has changed the dynamic and there's really no way to compare them. They're a very talented team and they'd be a great team in any era, but if they played in ours -- supposed they played in an era where there was no three-point shot. Do you think they would win at that point?"
Patrick gives his two cents, but then the Cap points to where the Warriors are lacking:
"They play this 'small ball', but size really matters on the court. Even in an era like now with small ball, if you have somebody who can score inside, that creates serious problems for the defense. Imagine if Shaq was playing against Golden State; they couldn't do anything with him."
Kareem continues about those Shaquille O'Neal - Kobe Bryant Lakers:
"I think it would be competitive and Kobe could shoot the long-range jumper with a lot of accuracy and efficiency, so that would change it, I think."
This trend was always going to be unavoidable, because what else would we talk about? That said, it's been louder this time than with previous great teams for whatever reason. Some have pointed to playing style (often knocking Golden State for their reliance on the three), some (including Abdul-Jabbar) have pointed to eras being essentially incomparable and some have spoken about the advancements in analytics changing the way the game is played.
No matter the reason, many a modern fan has been told to get off many a lawn.
I do think Abdul-Jabbar brings up some valid points, though, as spoken to by Darius Soriano of Forum Blue and Gold. He broke down the matchup in ways I never could, so I'll keep the conversation about the desire to have these conversations. Everything about it is completely overblown.
On one hand, prior generations are obviously going to defend their accomplishments. On the other, it's in younger generations' nature to challenge their uncool parents. So on that front alone, emotions will run a little high. Add some of the most competitive people in the world (professional athletes) to the mix and it's easy to see why the takes can get so hot. Then, the unavoidable blowback to anything that's essentially impossible to answer is to call that thing tedious -- as many have done with these inter-generational comparisons -- and you have a gigantic cluster (blank).
I enjoy the comparisons, but believe the evolution of the player has been such that to simply write off the Warriors as some soft team unable to stand up to the physicality of a prior era seems too shallow a way of thinking. While we can disagree with the sentiments (as many will, I'm sure), we can't really blame old and proud people for being, well, you know, old and proud.
Let the Cap spell it out for you.
"You can't find out unless you put the teams on the court and go at it, you know? So we're just going to argue about it. This is why they have sports bars, Dan. You order some wings and a brew and you just start arguing."
Full video of the interview can be found here, and you don't even have to order wings and brew to argue in the comments below:
Follow the author of this column on Twitter at @AnthonyIrwinLA.