I actually think Shaq and Hakeem are about even. Lately, I favor Hakeem slightly because he didn't have a real weakness and because the difference between their defense in Olajuwon's favor is bigger than the difference between their offense in Shaq's favor. But it's virtually a toss up to me. I use to have Shaq over Hakeem, but I alternate back and forth. Both are in my top 5.
It is tough though, Shaq was imo, the biggest mismatch in NBA history.
A few things to clear up, though.
You can't really diminish '95 Clyde and prop up 2000 Kobe. Clyde had a playoff run in '95 that was more than comparable to what Kobe did in 2000.
I don't think rings sum it up because Shaq undoubtedly had better casts for most of their careers, however, that alone doesn't make Olajuwon better because while he did have less help, he also won significantly less.
And finally, the hack-a-Shaq strategy was not effective more than not. Teams usually lost against the Lakers when they tried it. And Shaq wasn't routinely removed from games during his prime either. That's a huge misconception.
What usually happened with the hack-a-Shaq(when it was used, which wasn't usually the case) was Phil would see how Shaq responded to it. If he shot decently by his standards and the Lakers maintained or extended their lead, usually the opponent would stop after 3-4 times. If Shaq was really struggling, then Phil might take Shaq out for a minute or 2 until 2 minutes remained and the strategy was no longer available.
But teams didn't usually use it for a reason. 1 is that even a player who only shot 53% like Shaq would more often than not make 1 out of 2. That's giving away a point on average, and then your team has to score at the other end vs a set defense. And it also gets your team in the penalty making it easier for Shaq's teammates to get to the line.
As a rough estimate, for someone like myself who didn't live in LA and would watch Shaq play on national television or when he played NY or New Jersey. I'd say that out of roughly 30 regular season games, I could probably count on one hand how many times the strategy would be used in a regular season. And maybe once or twice in a playoff run.
Teams would use it more in some of those early season games in the seasons when Shaq had horrible early season free throw struggles(similar to Dwight now), but come playoff time, I'm not sure I can ever remember a time when the Lakers lost due to the hack-a-Shaq.
The whole Shaq regularly being taken out of games myth comes from the latter part of Shaq's career. By then Shaq was playing more limited minutes and would in fact play less down the stretch. But I start becoming suspicious over who actually watched Shaq's prime when they act like this was the norm during Shaq's prime.
Originally Posted by MooseJuiceBowen
duncan and hakeem were both better players. more skilled more post moves better rebounders better defender better leaders better teamates
only case shaq has is "dominant"
They weren't better rebounders than Shaq who had back to back title runs with 15+ rpg while scoring 30+ ppg.
Shaq was the best scorer out of the 3. Hakeem was pretty close in that regard and definitely more skilled, but I'll bet on Shaq as being more consistent at putting the ball in the basket. He had to work less hard for his points because of his size, but ultimately, I judge by effectiveness.
Who cares if Duncan had better post moves? It's not like Duncan was even in the same league as Shaq as a scorer anyway. And Shaq wasn't exactly lacking in post moves. Drop step, jump hook, spin move, turnaround on the baseline. He could go over either shoulder, which is all you need with your back to the basket. Had good counters, and could just back most defenders down if the help didn't come.
Even from a skill standpoint, Duncan could only do one thing with his back to the basket that Shaq didn't do much, which was shoot with his left hand.
He had a much better face up game than Shaq, though. But again, nobody with a brain would argue that Shaq and Duncan were comparable scorers.