Anthony, Legler, Smith discuss key issues in 2004-05
ESPN Guys Shoot Around

On Tuesday, the TNT guys weighed in on the Basketball New Year. Today, the ESPN NBA Shootaround guys get their chance. Here's what former players Greg Anthony and Tim Legler, and popular hoops scribe Stephen A. Smith had to say about the new season:

On Kobe Bryant and the Lakers post-Shaq:

Stephen A. Smith: "Because we don't expect (the Lakers) to win much, the only story is Kobe right now. You wanted Phil Jackson gone…he’s gone. You wanted Shaquille O'Neal gone…he's gone. (Kobe) wanted the franchise, one of the most illustrious franchises in NBA history, to belong to him. You got what you wanted. Let me see what you’re going to do with it."

Greg Anthony: “For Kobe Bryant to really be the great player everyone thinks he is ... the first important aspect of being a great player (is) making other people better. And that is what's going to be difficult for this guy, because he dominates the basketball. He has to make other people better to have any chance to make the playoffs.”


On Shaquille O’Neal playing for the Miami Heat:

Stephen A. Smith: “Seven-foot-one, 330 pounds and, on top of it all, he’s ticked off. I don't know about anybody else, but that spells disaster for anybody that's going up against this man. He is definitely my favorite to win MVP honors.”

Tim Legler: “I still think they are going to need more help, even from other guys we haven't talked about like Damon Jones and Wesley Person. Somebody's going to have to be out there to shoot the basketball. They have to spread the floor. That's when Shaq has been at his best ... that's when the Lakers won championships. Miami's going to have to get that out of those role players."


On the Detroit Pistons' repeat chances:

Greg Anthony: “I think they can, but I just don't think they will. This is a very good basketball team. One thing, and nobody talks about this guy, but Corliss Williamson had a huge impact on this basketball team because he matched up well with what they were trying to do with that second team. He was an instant offense type of player; a tough matchup for you. And because of the defensive prowess of the rest of those guys, it made him not be as much of a liability.“

Tim Legler: “I appreciate Corliss Williamson's contributions a lot, but I think Antonio McDyess and Derrick Coleman have a chance to offset that. Especially McDyess, if he's healthy. I think this team has a great chance to win the East again, because they're not the type of guys, personality-wise, that get complacent. They're a very hard working, blue-collar team. They're guys who all came from other places and bonded. They believe in what Larry Brown is teaching them and they have a great chance to get back to the Finals.”


On whether the Nets will trade Jason Kidd:

Stephen A. Smith: “I think it's possible, if he comes back healthy. He definitely wants out. He's made it very clear. He's owed five years and $90 million, and the bottom line is that he would like to be playing elsewhere.”


On Kobe or Shaq. Who would you want on your team?

Greg Anthony: “I'm insulted you'd even ask that question because how would you not take Shaquille O'Neal? This guy has taken every team he has played on and made them into a contender. And in L.A., by the way, he won three titles.”


On the NBA’s toughest division:

Tim Legler: “It's clearly the Southwest. You have four teams with stone-cold rosters; three Texas teams and Memphis. New Orleans has to be saying, ‘Gee, thanks a lot, Charlotte, for coming into the league and kicking us into the bully’s neighborhood.’ They're going to have a hard time, but it's still clearly the best division.”


On Vince Carter’s future in Toronto:

Greg Anthony: “Vince Carter's always hurt. He hasn't won, but you still pay to see him because the guy does something spectacular every time he takes the floor. Toronto as a franchise needs that. Unless they can match that, he isn't going anywhere.”


On which Van Gundy you would rather be – Jeff or Stan?

Tim Legler: “You got to like being Stan Van Gundy, because there is more upside down there in Miami based on what they did last year. Now, you bring in Shaq. This is a team now that can legitimately contend to win the Eastern Conference."