Do you remember prime Shaquille O’Neal? He was by far the most dominant player in the entire world, and the league even had to change some rules to make the game fairer for everybody trying to contain him.
Shaq thrived everywhere he played during his prime and made his way to NBA stardom, and for sure, he’d go down as a top 5 big man in the history of the game, swatting shots and demolishing rims at will night in and night out.
So, could you imagine him playing in his prime in modern NBA? Some rules like hack-a-Shaq would benefit him, as well as the illegal double teams wouldn’t be able to try and slow him down anymore.
Just for fun and for sake of the argument, we’re going to let you know about the top 5 destinations for prime Shaq to play in today’s NBA. Note: We won’t count teams with elite centers like the Pelicans, Memphis or Minnesota.
5. Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics are known for their defense, so adding Shaq into the mix would make them the kind of defensive dynasty Tom Thibodeau would dream about every night, shifting Al Horford to play the PF spot with his newly found stroke from distance and playmaking ability.
Also, trying to contain both Kyrie Irving and Shaquille O’Neal would just be impossible, especially if we talk about pick and roll sets, and they’d definitely be Championship bound with the Big Diesel on board.
4. Houston Rockets
Clint Capela is a great defensive center, but Shaq obviously be a major improvement over him, and that big trio featuring him, Chris Paul and James Harden would create the most dominant two way starting 5 in the Association.
The fast-paced Mike D’Antoni’s offense and space that Rockets produce with all of the shooters would definitely provide Shaq a huge advantage, and just imagine how many lobs a night CP3 could hand Shaq.
3. San Antonio Spurs
With Shaq locking down the Spurs defense down low, this team would have absolutely no liabilities, with all of their ball movement creating space for him to just attack the rim and demolish backboards as he’s used to do.
San Antonio is already a title contender, and with O’Neal’s addition, this team would pretty much have the best defensive starting unit in the entire Association, assuming Kawhi Leonard’s also healthy and ready to ball.
2. Phoenix Suns
Shaq really enjoyed his time at Phoenix but he wasn’t at his best in the desert, so this re-do with the renewed young Suns would instantly lift them and make them a huge threat in the playoffs for a very long time.
Phoenix already has Devin Booker and while defenses focus mostly on him, they just wouldn’t be able to try and contain him and Shaq at the same time, and he’d be the perfect guy to finally fix their defensive woes.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers
Shaq would love to go back to Cleveland, playing with this renewed defensive-minded team and with the best LeBron James we’ve seen in years, and all the sharpshooting role players they feature as well.
Teams tend to double James when he attacks the lane, but trying to stop him and O’Neal would be just impossible, as they’re the strongest players in their respective positions by a long shot, and there wouldn’t be a possible way to stop both of them in pick and roll offense and their constant baseline cuts.