There are very few NBA players in NBA history, if any, that were more dominant than Shaquille O'Neal. Shaquille O'Neal averaged a career 23.7 points per game along with 10.9 rebounds per game, winning four NBA titles and earning three Finals MVP Awards. Clearly, Shaquille O'Neal is one of the top 10 greatest players to have ever played.
But how would he fit in today's NBA? In a modern age where spread pick and rolls and three-point shots rule offensive and defensive game plans, many wonder if Shaquille O'Neal's dinosaur type of play would be effective. Make no mistake, it 100% would be effective. Since you cannot foul players or be as aggressive as you would back in the day, Shaq would have a field day with some of the weaker or finesse players defending him.
We don't have a dominant low post scorer in the NBA right now, so Shaq would come in an absolutely run riot on anyone who tried to defend him. If Shaq were to be playing in this era, it would be very interesting to see in which teams he fits best. As a result, it is time to rank the best destinations for Shaquille O'Neal.
Big Three: Kyle Lowry, Shaq O'Neal & Pascal Siakam
The Toronto Raptors would not have won an NBA title last year if Marc Gasol wasn't on the roster. Gasol added that little bit of talent, skill, and ability on both ends of the floor to give the Raptors an edge over an injury-riddled Warriors squad. Gasol has been a solid player throughout his career with averages of 14.7 PPG and 7.6 RPG.
But Shaquille O'Neal would absolutely transform the Toronto Raptors into the number one favorite in the East, and probably in the West. The Raptors have great talent on the perimeter on the wings, but Shaquille O'Neal would give them an added superstar post presence that would be too much to handle. With Marc Gasol coming off the bench, O'Neil would be the leading scorer and rebounder on the team while Pascal Siakam and Kyle Lowry do their thing on the perimeter and on defense.
Big Three: James Harden, Shaq O'Neal & Russell Westbrook
We all know the major trade that the Rockets made earlier this season, essentially swapping Clint Capela for Robert Covington. While we initially scratched our heads wondering who would be the starting center, the Rockets made it clear that they're going super small and will do all their damage on the perimeter. Tucker is a super small-ball center, shooting 37.0% from three and averaging 6.9 RPG.
But small-ball might come to bite them in the playoffs, and especially in a long series when teams like the Lakers can slow things down and feed it into their talented big men. The Rockets are a heck of a team and can score the ball easily and quite efficiently thanks to their three-point shooting, but Shaquille O'Neal would completely transform them into the best team in the NBA.
James Harden has a tendency to go cold from the perimeter and Westbrook can't do all the work by attacking the rim all game. Feeding the ball into Shaq and allowing him to slow the pace down and dominate the game would open up the floor for James Harden. Harden would be able to play the Kobe role and go one-on-one to destroy his man every time. Shaq would also allow Russell Westbrook to focus his efforts on being a hound defensively and running the ball on missed shots by the opposition.
New Orleans Pelicans
Big Three: Zion Williamson, Shaq O'Neal & Brandon Ingram
Only one can imagine how dominant a frontcourt of Zion Williamson and Shaquille O'Neal would be. Zion is already a force to handle, averaging 23.6 PPG and 6.8 RPG in his first season in the NBA. Shaquille O'Neal averages similar numbers, and his presence on the team would give the Pelicans one of the best front-court duos of all time.
A starting lineup featuring Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Zion Williamson, and Shaquille O'Neal would be the best lineup in the NBA in one of the most exciting teams to watch in history.
Big Three: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Shaq O'Neal & Khris Middleton
Make no mistake, Brook Lopez has done an admiral job as a stretch center for the Milwaukee Bucks. The team builds around Giannis Antetokounmpo, a superstar in this game and probably the best inside scorer we've seen in a very long time. While Lopez can shoot the ball which helps spread the defense for Giannis to attack the rim, Shaquille O'Neal completely revolutionizes this team's offense.
The Bucks would start both Shaq and Giannis, two 7-footers who would be unstoppable together. Giannis is having another MVP season this year putting up 29.6 PPG and 13.7 RPG for the best team in the East. A prime Shaquille O'Neal would take the Bucks to the NBA Finals for the next few years, making them the force in the NBA and creating a dynasty in Milwaukee.
Big Three: Kemba Walker, Shaq O'Neal & Jayson Tatum
Without a doubt, the team that would benefit most from Shaquille O'Neal's presence is the Boston Celtics. They have a great core of young players including Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, but they need a center to compete with the best teams in the West such as the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers.
Daniel Theis is an underrated player because he does the dirty work and can also hit the outside shot. But O'Neal would give the Celtics the number one option on offense, basically running the show which opens the floor for Jason Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Tatum specifically is playing a lot like Kobe Bryant, so this would be a match made in heaven.
Even Kemba Walker, the team's starting point guard, would have a lot of open looks from downtown and would have no problem feeding the ball to Shaq each time down the floor. The Celtics are a good team, but Shaquille O'Neal would place them in the championship conversation for the foreseeable future.