The 2000-01 Los Angeles Lakers went 56-26 in the regular season in defense of the previous season’s championship. But the team, led by Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal, stormed through the playoffs, and lost just once en route to a second straight title.
“I’ll take that ’01 [Lakers] team against anybody in the history of the game,” Bryant told Alex Kennedy of the HoopsHype Podcast last week. “Any team.”
But what about another back-to-back champion? We’re talking about the 2017-18 Golden State Warriors.
This year’s Warriors had a similar regular season (58-24), but posted a better offensive rating (113.6) and defensive rating (107.7) than their purple-and-gold counterparts from the start of the century, all while averaging about eight additional possessions per 48 minutes. Golden State shot better from the field (50.3 percent), from beyond the arc (39.7 percent) than Bryant’s second title team, but Los Angeles did a better job limiting opponents in both areas.
We’ll never truly know without a time machine that could fit the Warriors’ roster, but the current title-holders would have been a heck of a matchup for that Lakers squad.
Who would you pick? Sound off in the comments.