Getting stuck next to one of the best centers ever doesn't make you a better winner, it makes you fortunate.
Penny proved he could lead a championship contender without Shaq when he was healthy. He did better--much better--when Shaq was hurt than young Kobe or young Wade did. The Magic without Shaq remained an elite team thanks to Penny; LA and Miami without Shaq played .500 or worse ball. If Orlando was all Shaq how could they compete so well without him?
Of course it matters, he made the teams when the best player was sitting out.
The last time I checked Jordan played in 96'...
Top 5 in all-NBA voting in 1995
1) Malone (F) 519
2) Robinson (C) 479
3) Pippen (F) 451
4) Stockton (G) 447
5) P. Hardaway (G) 394
Top 5 in all-NBA voting in 1996
1) Jordan (G) 113 (unanimous)
2) Pippen (F) 91
3) P. Hardaway (G) 90
4) Malone (F) 89
5) Robinson (C) 65
Jordan also must be why Penny was 3rd in MVP voting in 96', right? What is VC's top MVP finish? 10th or 11th? Penny was a guy you could go to war with; prime Carter was a guy who could sell tickets.
Jordan being retired means nothing. Is Drexler's all-NBA first team selection in 92' illegitimate because Magic retired?
He played 5 games in the 97 playoffs. Anyone can have a great stretch or series...
at this coming from a Heat fan. You do realize the Heat had some good teams before Wade, don't you?