Kobe or Shaq: Who Has Been More Important To Their Teams Over the Years?

There are two ways to determine how great a player is.

First, you can look at statistics and awards, which are easy to look at, but in reality this isn’t the best method.  

The best example for why this method isn’t the best is because of players like Allen Iverson, who have had great career statistics, but ultimately did not make their teams better for most of their careers and sometimes even made them worse. 

This can also work the opposite way if you look at a player like Chauncey Billups, who doesn't have as great stats as some players, but has more of an impact on his team than many of those other players.

Therefore the best way to figure out how great a player truly is, look at how much better a player makes his team and how much worse they would be without them. However, although this method is the best, it is also generally the hardest because there is no exact science behind it. 

This becomes even harder when a player doesn’t miss very many games or doesn't change teams.

With the Lakers going 4-0 without Kobe Bryant, it has reopened up my eyes to address Bryant’s impact on his team now and over the years. To even further help my case, I’m going to compare Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal’s impact on their teams over the years.  

If you look at Bryant’s history and compare it to the history of player like O’neal, it’s quite amazing how much one player has been more important to his teams than the other.

Before the Orlando Magic selected O’Neal in the 1992-93 draft, the team was 21-61 the year before. With O’Neal, they improved tremendously going 41-41 the next season and 50-32 the season after that. In O'Neal’s third season they made their first finals appearance in NBA history. After O’Neal’s departure from Orlando, the team didn’t m...

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