From 1992 to 2011, Shaquille O'Neal dominated the NBA like nobody had ever done before. By the time he played his last game, the guy was a 15x All-Star, 4x Champion, and 3x Finals MVP.
But according to Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue, who played with Shaq during his days on the Lakers, the Diesel would be even better had he been playing today.
Here's what he had to say on the subject in a chat on The Athletic:
“He would average 60,” Lue said. “All the small ball and all that, you wouldn’t be able to do that, not even a chance. And now they’re putting in all these shooting fives and putting fours at the five and threes at the five position; he’d average 60 points, and everybody on the team would foul out. The way they play today, with Shaq, you’d never get away with that.”
As a 7-1, 325-pound machine, Shaq was a hard assignment for any defender -- even back in the day. In fact, Charles Oakley once pegged O'Neal as the toughest player he's ever had to guard.
“Shaq was tough. He was just big, and the one thing he liked to do was dunk on you. He never dunked on me, but he was a force, though. I give him credit. Skill-wise, Kevin McHale in the post, Tim Duncan. Karl Malone, but he just flopped too much for me.”
When you consider how dominant Shaq was during his time, it only makes sense to say that he would be even better today.
In our modern times, the NBA has gotten smaller and there is really nobody who would be able to handle O'Neal's size and physical play style. Factor in the new-age officiating, which favors offensive players, and it would only enhance what Shaq would be able to do.
It's unfortunate we'll never get to see what the guy would be like in the modern NBA, but the star big man accomplished more than enough during his own time for us all to appreciate.