#32 wrote:Michael Jordan - Was retired during Hakeem's championship days. There would be noway the Rockets would have any banners in the 90's if Jordan played the whole way through.
Jordan played during the second ring of the Rockets, and the Shaq's Magic got him out of the playoffs, just to lose 4-0 against the Hakeem's Rockets in the finals.
#32 wrote:Patrick Ewing - Never really had that great a team during an opportune time... perhaps the finest example (besides Barkley) of a Hall-of-Famer who's fingers remain bare due to Jordan. Ewing and Olajuwon barely separated themselves during Jordan's retirement. In my opinion, Robert Horry, Sam Cassell, and Clyde Drexler look a lot better for team support than Charles Oakley, John Starks, and Anthony Mason. Hakeem is no doubt a better center than Ewing, but he also had a better team to help deliver Houston a couple rings.
I don't think too high of Ewing. He was a pretty good center, but a step (or more) below Hakeem, Shaq, Robinson, Moses Malone and many others. Just a little bit better than Brad Daugherty...
I only count Drexler as a Blazer. He had his best years there, and only helped Hakeem on the Rocket's second ring. He was more of the oppositon to Hakeem than help.
#32 wrote:David Robinson - Like Ewing, Robinson was cursed with mediocre backup. Sean Elliot, the offensively-retarded Dennis Rodman, Avery Johnson, Vinny Del Negro... nothing more than a slew of average players (save for Rodman) who couldn't deliver when the game counted on it. Don't get me started on the Spurs bench in the pre-Duncan era, either...
Robinson also had a pretty good Terry Cummings by his side, and Willie Anderson (who wasn't special, but got the job done)... He also lacked the nastyness a true (on-court) leader needs.
#32 wrote:Kemp & Payton - Good, but immature. In their prime, Gary Payton was MVP-worthy, there's no doubt... but Kemp had always been a head case (even before the contract episodes). It can be argued that Payton didn't truly mature into the player he should have been (as far as a leader, on and off the court) until Kemp was shipped out to Ohio. Immature and, therefore, unreliable.
Kemp was unstoppable at a time. Same as Shaq, you knew he was going to dunk on you, no matter what you did. Seattle also had a pretty strong team alonside them (Schrempf, Perkins, Hersey Hawkins, ...) and a pretty good coach.
#32 wrote:Stockton & Malone - Unlike Kemp & Payton (who were immature), these two simply didn't have the team. Jeff Hornacek was the best side-kick these two ever had... and he was barely above average (not to mention, in the twilight of his career). A roster with Shandon Anderson, Greg Ostertag, Adam Keef, and Howard Eisley doesn't look too title-worthy to me.
Utah also had Jeff Malone, Bryon Russell and ..., that's it. They were cursed for choosing Salt Lake city as their location. If not, they would have won a ring or two.
#32 wrote:Charles Barkley - The exception. The player who had it all (a talented team with the Suns, the MVP ability, the leading role that he needed, and a shot at the MVP title), but came up short against Jordan and his Bulls. Tough break, but that's how it goes.
#32 wrote:Shaquille O'Neal (with, virtually, nobody) dragged the EXPANSION team (the Orlando Magic) to the NBA Finals just as early (and also came up short). And, if you want to get technical, Shaq has more rings than Hakeem. There's nothing more democratic in the world. "Greatest at this" and "greatest at that" are all debatable, but there's nothing debatable about championship rings... and Shaq has more.
I just think the league talent was "watered down" when Shaq got his rings. Look at their rivals on the finals, Indy (with Reggie Miller as their star), Philly (Iverson) and New Jersey (Kidd). Any of the teams we've been talking about would cruise against those team and win easily.
I give Shaq more credit to their title run with Orlando, but he also had a good supporting cast. Penny was great during those years (he still has a max contract, and that's only due to the way he played back then), Dennis Scott was a great shooter, Horace Grant wasn't worse than, say, Otis Thorpe, and Nick Anderson was also a pretty decent guard. And also had Brian Shaw coming from the bench...
I think that team had better players than his Lakers championship teams. He had a top player on Kobe, and a clutch player on Horry, but not much more. In fact, he even had some of those players with him in the Lakers (Grant or Shaw), just older.
#32 wrote:Overall, I think Hakeem was the 2nd best center of all time, there's no doubt. He was a wonder to watch and truly one of a kind (there hasn't been a center with more guard-like qualities since)... but, when it all comes down to it, Shaquille O'Neal has higher career numbers and more championship rings (meaning that he's, statisically, ahead of Hakeem in both singles play and how far his team goes). I don't see anything, other than personal preference (ie, you liking the finese game more than the power game) that would inspire a different answer. Shaq, in many different aspects, has surpassed the man he tried to idol his game after (Hakeem).
Players that played in different ages can't be compared by the rings. Bill Russell would own them all. And I still think it was harder to get a ring in Hakeems prime than in Shaq's.
I guess it's personal preference then, but I still consider Hakeem as the best center ever, with Shaq second and Moses third (I'm not counting Wilt or Bill Russel because I only got to watch vids of them, never complete games, so I don't consider myself able to have a valid opinion)
I'll have to think about that top 10 list. It's going to be hard just choosing 10 players...