Could you imagine Shaquille O’Neal on a superteam? When you think of the “Big Aristotle” you picture his days with the Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Lakers, as he became one of the most imposing figures in NBA history. His Lakers teams built a dynasty in the early 2000s and won three straight championships as O’Neal manhandled the team’s opposing centers on a regular basis.
The discussion of super teams has grown rampant over the last couple of seasons, as it seems like players are now working with each other to orchestrate roster moves behind the scenes. Today we will look at Shaq’s comments about why he would never join a super team and determine what we should expect from some of the super teams next season.
In regards to super team’s O’Neal (appearing on Jimmy Kimmel) said: “Not one of those teams,” he said. “I’m from the era where guys wanted to compete and beat each other, so I would wait and see who’s teaming up and doing that and I would go on a team that needs a superstar, and I’d teach them guys how to beat the super teams.”
You could tell his comments were from the heart. He has constantly criticized players for joining up with each other for the sake of winning a championship, and his competitive nature shows he would rather beat a super team than join one.
Shaq was lucky enough to play for smart front offices that made the most out of their draft picks, with Orlando drafting Penny Hardaway & Nick Anderson. The Lakers made a move to trade for Kobe Bryant and give O’Neal a star guard he needed in the backcourt.
When you think of superteams the one that quickly comes to mind is the Miami Heat team led by LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. Wade, James, and Bosh all orchestrated plans to team up in Miami before the start of the 2010 season.
All three took pay cuts in order to make the salary cap numbers work and the Heat made it to the NBA Finals all four seasons they were together, winning two championships.
Another notable superteam was the Boston Celtics with Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce. Pierce had become one of the games’ best small forwards but added Allen and Garnett, who were still two of the top players in the league. The Celtics would win a championship in their first season together.
With Kevin Durant leaving the Golden State Warriors, to join Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn, it was the start of a changing NBA landscape. The bigger domino to fall was Kawhi Leonard and Paul George going to the Los Angeles Clippers.
George forced Oklahoma City to deal him to Los Angeles to avoid having a disgruntled superstar play out the entire season. The Clippers will be a tough out in the playoffs next season, as they could have one of the best defenses we have seen in decades.
The Philadelphia 76ers still have an excellent core and by adding Al Horford they look like the best team in the Eastern Conference on paper.
When you also add in the Houston Rockets, who now have two MVPs in Russell Westbrook and James Harden, you are looking at one of the most competitive eras the league has ever seen. We know Shaq will be ready.