The Golden State Warriors are trying to become the first team to three-peat since Shaquille O'Neal's Los Angeles Lakers did so from 2000 through 2002, and Stephen Curry has little doubt who would win in a head-to-head showdown.
"Oh, he's dead wrong," Curry said Wednesday when told O'Neal believes his Lakers would win the hypothetical matchup, per Nick Friedell of ESPN.com. "Of course. We'd beat them. We can go back-and-forth all day."
O'Neal went as far as to say Los Angeles would "easily win," per Scott Gleeson of USA Today.
"Other people might feel different, they (the Warriors) might feel different," he said. "But we had one of the best teams of all time in 2001 when we went 15-1 in the playoffs. We would've gone [15-0], but A.I. (Hall of Famer Allen Iverson) went off on us and stepped over (former Laker) Ty Lue."
Curry granted it is difficult to compare teams from different eras because of how much the game has changed since O'Neal dominated the paint as an unstoppable force.
It is a nod to the Warriors' place in history that they are so often compared to teams such as the Lakers that featured O'Neal and Kobe Bryant or the Chicago Bulls squads that won six championships with Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. This is one of the best teams ever to lace it up and could surely hang with just about anyone given its star power.
Playing O'Neal's Lakers would be an interesting dynamic because of the different styles of play.
Los Angeles could counter Golden State's small-ball- and three-point-reliant lineups by feeding O'Neal on the block. The Diesel dominated some of the biggest and best centers ever to play the game, so it isn't a stretch to suggest he could consistently score down low against Draymond Green in small lineups.
However, he would also have to counter the Warriors' plethora of shooters on the other end of the floor and may have grown tired chasing them up and down throughout a game or series.
It is a matchup fans can only debate, but Curry and O'Neal made their positions perfectly clear.