Notwithstanding anything I may have said previously the key thing to know about historical comparisons and the NBA is that you can’t listen to Celtics fans on the subject of the 1996 Chicago Bulls. Simmons asks, “who’s guarding Shaq on that team? Who’s guarding McHale? Who’s guarding Kareem? Shawn Kemp destroyed them in the Finals, what do you think those guys would have done?”
Ah, yes. Imagine if the 1996 Bulls had had to face off against Shaquille O’Neal. What would have happened then? Why, it might have looked a little something like the 1996 Eastern Conference Finals in which the Bulls played an Orlando Magic team led by the young Shaq. And in the second round, the Bulls played Patrick Ewing and the Knicks. And in the first round, they played Alonzo Mourning and the Heat. And, yes, Kareem-at-his-prime was better than those guys but it’s hardly as if the Bulls only won games because they never faced a quality big man.