Originally Posted by Carbine
Shaq was as effective an offensive player as Bird, or anyone else ever.
Shaq was a superior rebounder.
Shaq was a superior defender.
Pretty damn hard to argue otherwise.
Maybe you take the "Bird was a much better passer, dribbler, outside shooter than Shaq" angle but again, the only thing that matters is IMPACT. That's literally the only thing that matters. Not how many things you can do effectively. With that understanding, Shaq is Birds equal as an offensive player.
Defense and rebounding are clear advantages for Shaq.
Larry Bird was a better offensive player than Shaq. Shaq was naturally more efficient. He wasn't even as good a scorer. Bird was better.
The defense thing is ridiculous and this is one of those things where "period" is inevitable. Shaq played subpar defense for most of his career. He wasn't a "great" post defender. he was very good, but if you put the ball on the floor he'd give up. He is the worst pick n' roll defender I've ever seen. He refused to come out on shooters. Rim-protection isn't shot-blocking. That's one element. Other elements are positioning, anchoring, covering, altering shots thru contests, fundamental play on the block, paint protection, intimidating. Intimidation is not looking at how big Shaq is. Intimidation is Ben Wallace. Intimidating is Dikembe Mutombo...that is personified. Shaq got you on the weak side, he blocked you if you tried to shoot over him. He didn't anchor your defense. He was a great player and a center, so we give him credit as a great defender. There is some revisionism about Bird being a liability, tho he was far too intelligent to get abused by people. Bird was as good a team defender as you'd find, a great post defender, a hustle player, and would make huge plays on D. Bird was better.
Shaq is a better rebounder. He was a center and Bird was a SF. But that's fine. After the last few years I finally understand a reason for people who think Shaq should have been a better rebounder than he was. I thought he was great, but I forgot that he didn't do shit on defense. How many boards would he get if he actually defended? He'd still be a double-double guy, but his rebounding would probably go down. Tho it was great the two years he should have been MVP.
But yes, like you said, Bird is the better passer. He's also the better off-ball player. That might not be important, as Shaq was a center, but just as with rebounds we'll take it into consideration. Bird made players better. He was smarter, more clutch, a better team player, not a stat whore.
Those are much clearer advantages, so you know.