I guess you might say with Shaquille Oâ€™Neal going from Miami to the Phoenix, â€œIf you canâ€™t stand the Heat, then stay out of Miami.â€? Or, maybe you might ask, â€œWill Shaqâ€™s career rise again with the Suns?â€?
Okay, here are some basics. If Oâ€™Neal is for real and is and can stay healthy, the guy will certainly help Phoenix. When the Suns traded Kurt Thomas earlier this season, they lost their big banger. Oâ€™Neal can help in that area. Although not as productive as he was in the past, Shaq has decent stats– grabbing 7.8 RPG and putting in 14.2 PPG. Heâ€™s also still able to play sound â€œD,â€? averaging 0.6 turnovers and 1.7 blocks with a turnover margin of plus-2.9.
The Suns, like other clubs in the Pacific Division, have tended to be a run and gun team. Itâ€™s true that they average the most points per game in the NBA (109.68), but they also allow the sixth most points per game (103.76). Shaq could help reduce that second number.
Of course, for Oâ€™Neal to really affect the play of his new team, the club will have to slow it down a bit. One reason for that need has to do with their new centerâ€™s age. Heâ€™s not as fast as he used to be and itâ€™s going to take him a while to go from one end of the court to the other. But, additionally, Oâ€™Neal plays best and is most effective when the ball gets shared.
Of course, the big question here is about Shaqâ€™s health. Oâ€™Neal has had numerous injuries over the past few years that have hampered his play, tasking him out of the line up for extended periods of time. Oâ€™Neal needs to work into the Phoenix mix and build his stamina and strength during the second half of this season, and in the playoffs, Shaq will have to be healthy and in top condition. The fact is the NBA post-season is a killer even on healthy players.
Shaq has been with Phoenix for three games and has not yet played. So all we have at this point is conjecture.