Following his team’s 2020 title victory, Lakers assistant coach Mike Penberthy sat down with Ryan Ward of Lakers Daily to discuss a number of things about basketball, life, and the Purple and Gold.
At one point during the interview, Mr. Penberthy made a very interesting comparison between the LeBron/Davis duo and Shaq. Kobe duo of the early 2000s.
RW: You won a championship playing with Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal and now you’ve coached LeBron and Anthony Davis to a title. What are the differences in those Lakers superstar duos?
MP: All four of them are different players. Shaq is a true center. A.D. is a freak hybrid. LeBron is one of the most dominant forces in transition and with his basketball I.Q. and ability to pass, dribble and make big shots. And then Kobe was one of the greatest scorers and greatest talents in NBA history, so all of them were different in their own ways.
Shaq had the ability to make other people better. LeBron made other people better. A.D. and Kobe were more of the assassins of the group. They’re looking to score and looking to get the ball. Not that they couldn’t make other people better, but they were more valuable to the team scoring.
The differences are really that they were all different players, but here’s the unique thing that’s similar. Shaq and Kobe were better when they played together with each in pick-and-rolls and in post-ups and kick-outs. LeBron and A.D. got better when they played together. When they shared the ball and utilized each other’s strengths. They’re much better together than they were apart individually.
I think Shaq and Kobe came together to bring home championships and I think it’s the same for LeBron and A.D.
Penberthy notes how both duos consist of guys who play off each other’s strengths.
For Davis and Kobe, it means being a killer, monster, and tone-setter for the group — scoring at will and dominating with the basketball. For Shaq and LeBron, it’s their unique ability to make others around them better.
While the current Lakers duo only has one season together under their belt, they no doubt have aspirations to join Shaq and Kobe as some of the greatest players to ever wear the jersey.
It will take time, but with one title already under their belt, they’ve gotten off to a pretty admirable start. We’ll see what more they are able to do in their tome together.