What If Wednesday: Mike/Scottie vs. Kobe/Shaq in 2-on-2
— NBA TV (@NBATV) February 4, 2015
If you’ve been keeping up with NBA TV’s Best Duo tournament, in which fans have been voting on Fan Night based on an extensive bracket of all-time great NBA duos, you know that the championship has come down to Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen against Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal.
For today’s hypothetical What If Wednesday, I want to map out what an actual two-on-two game with these teams might look like, and if I may, predict how it might pan out.
Obviously the proverbial elephant in this room is Shaq. He’s the mismatch anomaly not just for his side, but also for Mike and Scottie, because Shaq would still have to guard someone. That being said, whoever gets the ball first here might make all difference in the end.
Assuming the ball would go through Shaq every single time, Kobe could literally stand stagnant opposite and let the big fella dictate. Mike and Scottie would have to scramble like crazy – jabbing, recovering, maybe even doubling sometimes just to force the pass and try to close out on Kobe. Depending on Kobe’s spacing, Shaq could have a one-on-one match up every time, and otherwise Kobe will have multiple opportunities at a wide open shot.
If Mike and Scottie get the ball, it would be a lot of two-man game, trying to specifically force Shaq to rotate and recover. It’d be pretty strategic in simply making Shaq work and play defense. Technically they should be able to do anything they want, besides dual posting up.
Despite the size advantage, I think Mike and Scottie would have just enough fortitude and wit to earn enough stops and offensive possessions to win the game. Who would you pick? Who is the better duo all-time?
Try not to let this revered 1996 All-Star moment between Shaq and Mike sway you: