Shaquille O’Neal was one of the most dominant forces in NBA history with his 7-foot-1 and 300 pounds frame. Apart from his enormous strength, his post-game was often overlooked even though Shaq could hit you with a couple of moves down-low.
Shaq’s playing style is totally different than what we see from centers in today’s game. It would be interesting to see if he would be able to adapt to a style of play where big men are stepping further and further away from the basket and the game is focused more on shooting threes than ever before.
The question which lies is would they be able to exploit his absence from the paint and vice versa, would other teams be able to stop Shaq down there in the paint.
O’Neal appeared as a host in the official Los Angeles Podcast and shared his thoughts on how he would perform in NBA today.
“First of all, if I came up in this era, I wouldn’t shoot threes. That’s not what a big guy is supposed to do. If I played today, I’d average 50, without free throws. I’d average 50 because guys don’t play physical. They whine and they cry; I’m going to punish everybody. All these guys talking about shooting jump shots, you’re going to have to defend me. And you can’t defend me with three or four fouls. I’m just going to punish you. I haven’t really lost to a lot of guys that shot jumpers in my face, but I beat everybody by playing low.”
O’Neal made his money inside the paint for a big majority of his career, while at the same time not being a great shooter from the free-throw line. For the entirety of his career, he averaged only 52 percent from the charity stripe but was still able to finish his career with 28.596 points.
He also gave an interesting insight into why he doesn’t believe big guys shooting jumpers against him would work.
“OK, everybody is shooting jumpers. Fine, but I make my money on the inside. A lot of people don’t understand it takes legs and strength to shoot the jumpers. A lot of people will try to shoot jumpers for three quarters against me. In the fourth quarter, banging up against me all the time, it won’t work. And then I would always have that physicality. Because, as you know, I don’t give an [expletive] about the fine. So those guys come into the lane, I’ve got to touch them up. All day, every day. Gotta touch them up. Fine, suspension. I don’t really care about that. It’s a psychological thing. They know the next time they come down the lane, I’m going to touch ’em up.”