This could lead to some turmoil between two of the greatest Lakers big men.
There seems to be three guaranteed things in life: death, taxes, and Shaquille O’Neal criticizing a player from this current NBA generation. Given that he ranks as one of the most dominant players in league history and helped your Los Angeles Lakers capture three championships in a row, Shaq is now an analyst for TNT and holds big names in the league to very high standards.
We have seen it time and time again with former Lakers center Dwight Howard and also recently with the newest Phoenix Sun Kevin Durant. Especially being a part of the popular TNT halftime show “Inside The NBA,” Shaq has a massive platform where many hear and are influenced by his statements.
LA’s own star big man, center Anthony Davis, has unfortunately been the latest victim of the Big Diesel’s rants as he went on air Tuesday and revealed that he believes the 2020 champion has “fell off.”
Shaq made sure to emphasize that he meant no disrespect with this hot take but many still couldn’t believe that he said this about the 29-year-old Chicago native. Injuries have once again been the biggest issue with Davis this season but it has never been a question of talent or productivity.
Coming into this season, the Lakers had not pulled the trigger on a Russell Westbrook package just yet and LeBron James had a slower start than usual. It was none other than Davis himself who stepped up and strung together some of the best couple of months of basketball in his career. At that point, it was almost guaranteed he was putting up 30 points with 15 rebounds and a handful of blocks each night.
Unfortunately, the eight-time All-Star suffered a stress injury in his right foot that kept him out for 20 straight games. He is just coming off of a 30-point performance against the Dallas Mavericks that saw LA comeback from down 27 last Sunday and also posted 28 points with 19 rebounds against the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday.
It is one thing to label Davis as injury-prone, which he has acknowledged in the past, but to say he has fallen off is just completely wrong as shown by statistics from this season. He may not be the jump shooter he once was, but he remains an impressive operator in and around the post. AD has not posted Shaquille O’Neal-esque numbers this year because he is not and never will be Shaquille O’Neal, but he is still very capable of propelling this Lakers squad on a playoff run.