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Scattered Thoughts on Shaq

If the Celtics sign Shaquille O’Neal, we will all repeat the same things we said when Shaq was traded to Phoenix and then to Cleveland: This could work if a lot of things go right. Sure, the flaws are obvious. He’ll be 39 before the playoffs start, he hasn’t hedged on a screen/roll in 10 years and he complains publicly about coaches and teammates. 

And the not-so-obvious: In what might be a first for Shaq, his team last season performed much better with him on the bench. The difference was most pronounced on the offensive end, where Shaq is supposedly more helpful. The Cavs scored about 4.5 fewer points per 100 possessions with Shaq on the floor versus with him on the bench; among Cleveland regulars, only Jawad Williams had a larger negative impact on Cleveland’s offense. 

All the numbers are trending the wrong way—Shaq’s free throw attempts per minute and offensive rebounding hit career lows last season, and his turnovers have been creeping up for the last four years. 

Still: This could work if a lot of things go right.

Shaq can be an asset for a team that ranked just 15th in points per possession and struggled to produce looks at the rim when Rajon Rondo couldn’t penetrate. Rondo and Paul Pierce are the C’s only real threats to create offense at the basket. When they are on the bench or pushed slightly off their game, Boston’s offense is reduced to a series of off-the-ball screens and side screen/rolls—last-gasp sequences run on the defensive, after the best options have been closed off. Against good defenses, those kinds of possessions ended too often with long, contested jumpers. Watch Game 7 again, if you can stomach it. 

Shaq could provide some relief from that. I’m not saying he’s going to be out there beside the starters with 5:00 to go in the 4th quarter of a playoff game. But put him out there with, say, three bench players and Ray Allen? He adds a dimension that wasn’t there last season. 

Shaq attempted 5.2 shots per game at the rim in 2010, more than any Celtic save Rondo, and he converted about 67 percent of those looks—well above average for a center. He’d add an offensive rebounding threat to a team that currently has only one (Glen Davis). He might be the only Celtic that could command a double team, and think about how rarely over the last two seasons Boston has been able to do something as easy as tossing the ball into the post and waiting for a double team. 

Scoring is hard for the Celtics. Scoring is sometimes easy for Shaq.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t serious questions. Here are a few:

Who does he play with? This to me is the most important question. Assuming Luke Harangody and Semih Erden spend the important games on the bench or the inactive list, the C’s big man rotation during the playoffs would include: Kendrick Perkins, Jermaine O’Neal, Kevin Garnett, Glen Davis and Shaq. 

Shaq can obviously play alongside KG—that’s a natural center/power forward combination. Just as obvious: You can’t pair him with Perkins or Jermaine O’Neal, both of whom are natural centers. 

That leaves Glen Davis. So: Can Shaq play alongside Davis? Big Baby works hard, but is he ready to scurry around like KG and quarterback a defensive back line? 

A couple of things to note on this point:

1) Davis played played only 109 minutes alongside Perk last season. Doc was reluctant to pair Baby with a bulky, paint-bound center, and with good reason. Line-ups including both Davis and Perk were largely disasters. The one Doc turned to most often was outscored by 33 points in just 47 minutes and allowed 115 points in those 47 minutes, according to Basketball Value.

No other line-up featuring Davis and Perk logged more than 6:30 all of last season. It just wasn’t a set-up Doc trusted. 

2) Davis did play heavy minutes as the power forward alongside Rasheed Wallace, who was more comfortable than Perk outside the paint on both ends of the floor. Those line-ups struggled defensively against good teams. 

During the regular season, line-ups featuring Sheed/Davis allowed about 104 points per 100 possessions—just a bit above the C’s average. But the two of those line-ups that logged by far the most time (about 130 minutes combined) yielded about 108 points per 100 possessions, a number just below the league’s average. 

And sure enough, Sheed/Davis line-ups allowed nearly 109 points per 100 possessions in the post-season, according to Basketball Value

This is a concern.

Can Shaq play the role of the big man in the C’s base offense? The C’s offense is fairly demanding on its center. Kendrick Perkins sets screens everywhere—all along the baseline for Ray Allen, at the top of the arc for Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce, and just inside the arc as part of the C’s double-screen Rugby Scrum play. Doc Rivers has said over and over how critical Perk’s screens are to the team’s half court offense. 

Is Shaq up to that? If he’s not, how does that impact the team’s rotation? Doc might be willing to bend the second-unit offense to Shaq’s skills for six or seven minutes per game, even though the C’s “second unit” almost always includes at least one starter. But adjusting the core offense for Shaq? No way. 

Umm, defense? The Celtics win with defense, and that defense is based on precise, maniacal activity from everyone. Big guys jump out on screen rolls and rotate back to their men, all while the other four players on the court rotate in synch. Against star perimeter players, the C’s will do a bunch of things—bring an extra guy over to the strong side, trap the ball-handler, overplay the screen to force the ball-handler in one direction on screen/rolls. 

All of this stuff involves quick movements and attention to detail. 

And as we all know, Shaq’s defense outside of one-on-one situations in the post (where he’s pretty solid, as Matt Moore points out) has been a punch line for years. His default defense when he’s involved with screen/rolls is to sag back into the paint while the ball-handler’s man scrambles over the pick and tries to catch up. Open mid-range jumpers are there for the taking, and while the C’s don’t really mind you taking mid-range jumpers, they don’t want those jumpers to be uncontested, and they don’t want you to have enough space to at least think about going toward the rim with a head of steam. 

There is value in a guy that can block shots and snag defensive rebounds, and Shaq can do both. And it’s worth nothing that Cleveland’s D performed about as well with Shaq on the floor as it did with Shaq on the bench last season. 

Still: Is Shaq ready for this? Is he really a better signing, at the minimum, than Lou Amundson? He probably is, considering Shaq’s one main skill—scoring at the rim—meshes with what Boston needs. That skill is worth a minimum contract risk.

Just don’t expect it to put the C’s over the top. It’s not 2001.

  • Sophomore

    All exactly right. This is going to be a test of the coaching staff’s creativity. Can they make something out of his offensive skills and hide him on defense.

    I’d be much happier to get an active body who doesn’t score. The second unit should have more scoring punch next year, with the addition of Wafer and J O’Neill, and the likely improvement of Nate and (hopefully Quisy). And we might yet find one more backup 2.

    But obviously, Danny and Doc have a much better idea of what’s available.

  • Evan

    I think he can also play with Jermaine O’Neal who is long and more agile than any of our other centers.

    I bet we play some zone this year. With KG and Shaq or Shaq and Jermaine roaming the block waiting to block shots. This would allow us to dictate who blitzes the screen.

    Shaq’s role as the 5 in our offense will be different than Perk’s. With him in the paint there will be less of an emphasis on screening to open up shooters and more emphasis on spacing the floor to set up match ups. Shaq also converts every one of those chances that Perk, takes too long to gather and go up with.

  • Perry

    But even with his deficiencies this team needs a rebounder and who out there can make a bigger impact than Shaw? I don’t believe that setting screens will be a problem, and we know he can finish at the rim. When paired with Rondo the free throw shooting scares me, but we know teams won’t be in ‘hack down’ mode between the 1st and 2nd … 3rd and 4th quarters.

    Can second units expose the Celts defense? Yes.

    But would he be good value? Absolutely.

    Does he put them over the top? Unlikely, but the roster is not set.

    Truth could be they’re having a hard time using Sheed in a mix and match. Until that matter is settled, I’m not ready to close the book and start valuating the upcoming season.

  • @Evan: I concede there’s a chance an O’Neal/O’Neal front court can work in select situations, say, against the Lakers when Gasol/Bynum are on the floor.

    But I think in general it won’t work. Not enough mobility out there.

  • newyorkceltics

    Jermaine played a lot of the 4 position in Indiana alongside (Brad Miller?…I forget who was their center).
    Defensively it may be a problem as Jermaine no longer (never did really) have the lateral quickness to be a good defender away from the paint, but buying into the Celtics system may alleviate some of that.
    I think an O’Neal/O’Neal front court has some potential, provided Jermaine can pick up his midrange game again and announcers do not discombobulate when one O’Neal passes to the other.

    I’m still regretting losing Thibodeau, especially with all these new acquisitions…it’d be nice to have him around to coach them our signature defense in person.

  • Zach Deatherage

    Mr. Lowe,

    This is the first comment I have ever posted on the site, and I visit the site all of the time. I had to address the Shaq signing. This is definitly not a bad thing but the best thing the Celts could have done. I have been a Celtics fan my whole life and a Shaq fan since 3rd grade when Shaq was a rookie. Shaq’s attitude towards winning is huge, the fact that he is signing for a league minimum of $1.4 million when he has made a lot more in his career proves that. The one O’Neal I don’t understand why the Celtics signed was Jermaine, I mean we just got rid of Wallace’s lazy butt. Shaq is the only way we can compete againsted Miami and Orlando without Perkins. I believe Shaq and Perk are the only ones that have success guarding Dwight Howard. Also it will help in keeping LeBron and Wade out of the paint. Shaq may have clogged the paint in Cleavland with LeBron but we have the best coach in the league with Doc Rivers. The Cavs scored less with Shaq in because they used him wrong, and they jacked up shots expecting him to get every rebound. Our team has never really had a good Offensive rebounder, and it’s about time. Just think Shaq will draw the double team down low and pass it out to Ray for a Three.

    Keep up the good work with the website.


  • BunkerHillG

    Clearly going to be an enormous challenge for Doc and the staff this year. Not only are we throwing Shaq into this mix, we will be (hopefully) reinventing the wheel come mid-February when Perk returns. Bottom line in my book is that Shaq is a huge upgrade over Sheldon Williams. I wish we knew for certain whether Sheed is going to make another go of it. As long as Shaq accepts his role (which by the salary #s it sounds like he may have already), then we are a much better team with this deal. (Also, I trust Danny.)

  • Tom

    I wonder how much motivation did Lebron and the Lakers provide Shaq to make this decision to come to Boston?

    I think he can pair with little O’Neal, Jermaine can shoot jumpers, almost like a larger KG

  • rob

    Two things, first we most likely won’t be seeing perk back when expected. They’re going to take their time with his recovery and signing shaq allows them to do that. The last thing is that he gathers himself a lot faster than perk did. I think we all remember the times perk took to long and got fouled only to miss the free throws, shaq will put those down with ease. Be prepared for a lot big dunks from the diesel this year.

  • Too many decent Bigs? This is a “good” problem to have. One, everyone except Glen is old (or injured like Perk), so less minutes is another good thing to have. And another way this could work is IF … Glen can shed some poundage and spend some time trying out the backup SF spot. A bench of Avery, Nate, Glen, Jermaine and Shaq would be an awesome second unit … better than almost any other bench out there.

  • KC

    Is Shaq a starter with this team (without Perk)? Or is it Jermaine?

    Given Shaq’s lack of lateral movement and FT shooting, Jermaine should be the end-of-game finisher. But maybe a chance to start is the carrot the C’s need to dangle to get Shaq signed.

  • Perry

    Looks like they will make it offical this morning :-)

  • Shaq will come off the bench.

  • CaptBubbles

    Some great points Zach, but you are really pounding out the negatives while only lightly dealing with any positives. You bring up a stat about the cavs offense being worse with Shaq. If the rest of the team is just going to stand there while Shaq tries to create something in the post then don’t expect Golden St or Phoenix like numbers for the team. Can we get a stat as to why the cavs won more games WITH Shaq in the line-up as to more losses WITHOUT him playing???

    There is definitely something going on there which is not being addressed by the stats when more games are being won WITH Shaq playing. There are all kinds of stats out there, but the most important stat is wins.

    What better big man is there out there right NOW??? I cannot believe all the griping when the gripers cannot give us a better alternative.

    The Cs have a great defense BUT if you cannot rebound the missed shot what good is it??? I’d much rather give up a mid range jump shot away from the basket than an offensive rebound 3 feet from the rim & the subsequent ez put back. How many times did the Cs play fantastic defense last year only to give up the offensive, ez put back??? I watched 99% of the games last year, & this was a CONSTANT problem. You can play the best pick & roll defense the nba has ever seen, but if you don’t get the rebound & give up a bunny then it was all for nothing.

    If you are going to talk about defense then be sure to talk about defensive boards.

    Shaq is bad at the free throw line, but if their bigs are getting into foul trouble & forced to become more passive & the Cs are getting to the line early & often then that is moving in the right direction. Seemed like when the Cs got to the free throw line they became even more dominate last year.

    Playoff basketball is much more intense, slower, & half court. The Cs need a big who can get a high percentage shot down low on offense when all our jump shots are clanging (instead of running the 13th outside jump shot play for an ice cold Ray, hello game 3 0-13). The Cs need a massive body on the other team’s big & a better chance at getting that rebound than baby’s vertical or KG’s one handed rebounds.

    Line ups are all about chemistry. If the Cs win with Shaq playing off the bench or starting or finishing then play it that way. Experiment & play Shaq with every line up during the REGULAR season. If Shaq comes for a really low price & is willing to play whatever works then this is the best gift of the off season.

  • Rjw

    The 2nd team centers he plays against will certainly be hacking him. He will undoubtedly miss half of those free throws. But the good thing from that is the celts will be in the bonus that much quicker and paul & ray can take advantage of that.

  • DK

    Shaq will help vs. Bynum and Howard. For those reasons alone, he’s worth the vet min. Also, consider what he might do with a real PG in Rondo and shooters on the floor. Shaq really clogged the driving lanes for Lebron, but he’s a masterful passer, so with Garnett, Pierce and Allen out there spotting up, it will be very hard to double him. Attitude will be the primary driver of success with him.

  • KC

    Shaq comes off the bench?

    When Perk is out of the picture, the four big guys are: Jermaine, Shaq, Big Baby, and KG.

    Isn’t one of the points of this article that the most natural pairings of these guys would be Shaq/KG and BB/Jermaine?

  • Ian

    I would say that, since leaving Miami, not a single coach knew how to use him correctly.

    Shaq is shaq and an incredible asset at that. I do not believe so many are even questioning the decision and are not more excited about it.

    With Shaq, we dominate the big eastern conference teams like Magic and the especially the Heat (in case you didn’t notice, the Heat don’t have a front court).

    All good things with this move, and couldn’t be more excited to have some depth at the Center Position.

    For all of you who are skeptical, it is an insult to Doc’s coaching ability

  • Perry

    ‘There are all kinds of stats out there, but the most important stat is wins. ‘

    Hallelujah Captain B — you have nailed it. I take the stats seriously, but for god sake the NBA is not a mathematicians’ league just yet. Shaq will give us perhaps the deepest front courts in the league, and when Perk returns it’s going to help tremendously against the Bulls, Magic, Lakers and Heat.

    As predicted Danny let the market flush out and came up with ACE at this price. Still no incoming contracts past 2012 other than Pierce. Now there’s one more card left to play.

  • Brady

    KC, I agree. Shaq should start. Him and KG are the perfect pair and Jermaine and Big Baby would compliment each other well. Why not just plug Shaq in where Perk would be (because he’s a similar body) and run the offense the same way, except let Shaq go to work every once in awhile and draw double teams. Honestly, who can guard Shaq one on one besides Bynum and Howard? This is a perfect signing for Boston and it gives Perk the extra time to not rush back. Lets be honest guys, Perk really won’t be himself until this time next year. Also, hopefully Danny signed Shaq to a 2 year deal so we can have him for both years of this “Big 3” era.

  • Jeff in Portland

    Not much mention in this post or these comments (I admit I didn’t read the comments on the last post) about the people Shaq is most likely to play with if he’s signed: Robinson and Daniels. I am half-anticipating the alternating exhilarated fist-pump and frustrated fist-pound these guys will produce. Last year Doc said they gave Nate four offensive sets to run vs. Rondo’s 6-kajillion. Next year make it five: Create a shot for self, pass to wing for feed to Shaq and run through, pass to Daniels and spot up at top of key, pick and roll with (might as well be Davis for max unpredictibility) power forward, dump ball to Allen or Pierce for one-on-one.
    On AVERAGE we’ll do slightly better than trading baskets. Keep a record of your triumphant fist-pumps, and don’t break your hand hitting something hard.

  • First of all, grats on obtaining Shaq. I didn’t see it happening for reasons I’ve pointed out.

    If anybody can find a way to get Shaq to fit in, it’s a coach like Rivers who can handle the egos and tell it straight.

    I think the payoff will be if the aging front line falters (namely Garnett) due to injury or just general inability to log the same minutes as in prior years, then you’ve got someone who can provide decent filler during difficult stretches of the long season and in the playoffs.

    bear in mind, Shaq won’t respond well to DNPs or inconsequential minutes, no matter how Rivers sugar coats that.

    His poor free throwing will probably offset the scoring threat at the rim that has some excited, as other teams will put him on the line in any crucial situation.

    But he passes extremely well out of those low post situations, especially double teams.

    He doesn’t have the lift any longer to be considered a good shot blocker but he does clog the middle better than any other center in the game.

    He’s a smart defender and he plays great one on one defense against the other good centers around the league.

    It’s a mixed bag but certainly more good than bad especially at the vets minimum.

  • Ignore stats at your own peril. The stats all predicted Rasheed Wallace would be terrible, and everyone ignored them and said he would work in Boston, stats be damned.

  • Rich

    To many decent bigs is a problem only for teams who have horrible coaches, like CLE did with Mike Brown. To many decent bigs is a nice problem to have when you have a good coach like Doc Rivers.

  • CaptBubbles

    I’m not saying ignore stats, but I am saying what stats do you pay attention to? What stats are you dwelling on while ignoring others? And are stats the all knowing final word?

    If stats were fool proof then Vegas would never lose a sports bet, & there would really be no need to play a game since the outcome was already known.

    There are things going on in nba games which are not being measured or fully understood.

    So Shakespeare was right when he said,

    ‘There are more things in heaven and earth, Nba Statisticians,
    Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.’

  • CaptBubbles

    I will now watch the Shaq versus tv show

  • Perry


    …many of us do give stats credence … I mention them all the time. But there is chemistry to consider, a players’ heart, and game planning.

    Until further notice I’ll stick with DOC over SVG, Thibs, and Spokestra.

    Here’s the way I see it. This is a contract year for Davis and Perk. That’s motivation in itself.

    Shaq no doubt will be motivated by the vet minimum contract and sticking to the Heat and Lakers.

    The team who had a 13 point lead in the 3rd quarter of game 7 of the finals, minus Tony Allen, remains intact.

    So let’s see how the line ups look on the court, and what intangibles the O’Neals bring.

    Let’s also remember why Sheed was brought here. Certainly he did dog it in the regular season, but true to his words he stepped it up in the playoffs, and and nearly was the differnece maker until he started breaking down as the game wore on. True, the same results could happen to Shaq or any of the veterans. All in all, we should be looking at the glass half full. It is a good day.

    Jeff in Portland is right. What we really should be focusing on is the combinations.

  • NHBluesMan

    i’m just thinking back to the beginning of last year… Shaq shed around 20 pounds coming into Cleveland and was doing great until his thumb injury, then he lost it abit. If he stays healthy, with his desire to win and what he brings to the table, he’s going to be an amazing pick up for the vets min.

    Sure he’s not the greatest defender, but how many teams has he played on that are known for their defense? The Celtics defensive program is about TEAM defense. He’ll help against Dwight and Bynum, he can start sometimes when necessary, and he’ll easily give us what Perk gives us on offense as a BENCH player.

    I don’t know about you guys, but i’d take a 38 year old Shaq over Sheldon Williams off the bench any day.

    Also, an interesting point, our 2 back-up centers (once Perk gets healthy) are both guys who started for play-off teams. I’m happy to have that coming in off the bench.

    Welcome to Beantown Shaq!!!

  • KB

    for $1.4m, sounds like a no brainer experiment…. if it doesn’t work out, buy him out or let him dress in street clothes or something. having a lot of big bodies is indeed a good problem, remember 2009 playoffs? PP was playing pf, bbd was center.
    biggest thing is chemistry, and hopefully that takes care of itself. i feel thibs will def be missed.

  • CaptBubbles

    I am SO looking forward to that 1st game vs that south beach team, you know, what’s their name….

    Wow! I’m also looking forward to Shaq playing bynum & gasol when they try to bang on him & move him as they attempt their pet moves in the lane & hopefully kobe getting clobbered as he tries to dunk.

    Just think of all the great, hard fouls… instead of Paul laying there on the floor, it can be dwight curled up in a heap with his malicious elbows. Finally, some worthwhile fouls in the lane. Love it!

  • NHBluesMan

    …and even if he doesn’t work with the team, at the very LEAST we can keep him on to help teach Perk some GOOD post moves when he gets healthy.

    Can you imagine, the defensive skills Perk already has, then adding some Shaq-esque offense? Can you say top 5 center in the league?

  • CaptBubbles

    Shaq basically hates all the teams we really gotta beat…. the lake, south beach, the magicians w/ coach whiney . He’s got extra motivation there. I also hope Shaq will return the favor for all the cheap, head shot fouls horford & smith & pachulia have been dishing out. I’d like to see smith trying to jump over or through Shaq. Yeah, I look forward to playing the Atl now.

  • KC

    I don’t think I’m ignoring statistics. In fact, I’ll be teaching a statistics course in three weeks. (Oh summer, how I will miss thee.) Let’s be realistic, please. Shaq may play 50 games this year. Hopefully, he’ll get thirty or so in before Perk returns. He WILL drag down the offense. But the statistics also suggest that Shaq is a much better rebounder at this point than Jermaine (or Rasheed).

    Total Rebounds Per 36 minutes (2008/2009/2010):
    Jermaine 8.4/ 7.7/ 8.8
    Shaq 11.4/10.1/10.3
    Rasheed 7.8/ 8.3/ 6.6

    Same stats, just for fun. with other names that have been hinted:

    Josh Boone 10.3/ 9.3/10.9
    Kwame Brown 9.5/10.5/ 9.7

    Given the regression due to age that one would expect for a 38-year-old, maybe Boone or Kwame could grow to be better rebounders than Shaq this year. But Boone’s stats are skewed slightly by his offensive rebounding, because he takes a Rodman-esque approach when his team has the ball (not a bad strategy for a player without any other discernible NBA offensive skills). If we focus solely on the defensive end, we could look at the defensive rebounding percentage for last year:

    Jermaine: 21.2%
    Shaq: 24.0%
    Rasheed: 19.0%
    Josh Boone: 22.0%
    Kwame Brown: 24.3%

    Again, even if Shaq declines at age 38, is he going to be much worse than the other options?

    Just for comparison sake, Perk was a 24.4 and KG a 15.1. And for a good laugh, you might wonder where Semih Erden would rank on this list?

    Game 7 was a nightmare. The Celtics lost the championship because they could not get a defensive rebound. After that game, it was very easy to sit around for a month wondering how the C’s would get any rebounds without Perk and Rasheed. Jermaine O’Neal is a terrific addition. The Celtics were wise to sign him first and gave him more money. They needed his relative youth, health and skill set more than they needed Shaq. But at the same time, don’t you have to consider putting Shaq in a starting role to help the Celtics rebound and to put opposing teams in foul trouble early in games?

  • celtics freak

    @kc you cant really use stats to predict anything because just like @zack says they predicted sheed to be horrible and he did terrific things for us its like telling some one to not judge by its cover

  • KC

    Sheed was terrific?!

  • Jamie

    If you can get a decent 15-20 minutes a night from Shaq for the veteran minimum, then it’s a no brainer to sign him.

  • I agree it could work. That should be clear from, umm, the entire first half of the post.

    But you can’t just ignore that the Cavaliers were significantly better with Shaq on the pine. You can’t toss up the optimistic stats—the defensive rebounding and field-goal percentage, all of which I clearly mention in the post–without mentioning the fact that his team PLAYED WORSE with him on the court. Significantly worse.

  • Just remember, Shaq was supposed to be Phoenix’s answer to Tim Duncan that would get them over the top and into the finals when they acquired him.

    And he was supposed to be Cleveland’s answer for Dwight Howard that would get them over the top and back into the finals when they acquired him.

    On neither occasion, was the experiment even remotely close to being a success.

    Zach is right. Shaq’s presence on both of those contending teams, forced them to change the way they played to accomodate him when he was on the floor. Instead of the converse.

    And overall they were less effective with him out there.

    Part of the issue is that Shaq still thinks and plays as if he can do all of the things he did when he had the extensive skill set that he no longer has.

    It reminds me a lot of when the Lakers acquired Wilt to play next to Baylor and West. Much of the time, the ball movement was terrible. It would go into the post and Wilt would wait on something to develop.

    If you watched Phoenix while Shaq was there, it really affected their offense as well because it took away much of the play making from Nash.

    Maybe Doc can convince Shaq to change the way he plays to compliment the team, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

  • urbeltic

    Now with Shaq, I’m thinking that If I”m sheed, I’m checking back into the game. Retirement can wait, cause this is going to be one f’d up season – and I have a hunch sheed kinda needs that.

  • 15GREEN15

    time for a new post :)

  • Tom

    Shaq is good for this offense since Doc likes the inside/outside game. He is no worse than Perk on offense. Who would you rather have. Josh Boone? Kwaume? Seriously. You can do a lot worse for $1.4M

  • James Patrick

    Any of your Shaq doubters out there need to trust in Doc!!! Thinks about it. 2009, KG not hurt, we probably repeat. 2010, Perk not hurt, we probably win game 7 and 3-peat. Doc is an amazing coach and we have an amazing core of players that play team ball better than anyone! If Shaq doesn’t work, it’ll be his lose, not the teams. If Sheed couldn’t break this team down, no one can. Shaq will know his place. This is a very good day to be a Celtics fan!

  • James Patrick

    I need to proof read before I send. Sorry. lol

  • NHBluesMan

    Sheed bought into the system, Robinson bought into the system, Doc got TA to accept his role as a defensive stopper and nothing more… if ANYONE can work Shaq into a system its Doc. I’d be worried with any other coach at the helm, but with Doc, i feel like this will be helpful overall

  • Rich

    Pretty sure this was the only contender Shaq could go to, unless he felt like going to Chicago and hope they pan out ( I think they will..I know others don’t). He can’t go to Orlando for a multitude of reasons. He can’t go to Miami for probably even more reasons. He can’t go to L.A. for even more reasons than that. Boston was it for the Big Diesel. Nice to see him take the vet. min even when guys like Jermaine O’Neal get most of the MLE (seriously, is Shaq not a btter player, even at this point, than Jermaine? I say yes).

  • james

    i believe shaq will end up playing a bigger role than expected…at times last season the celtics would go on droughts where they couldnt produce an easy look..along side big baby, throw in nate robinson slicing and dicing..and shaq becomes a big target to hit down in the low post for a few easy slams…and oh yeah..he can still draw alot of fouls

  • James

    I love this and can’t wait for the season to start. Shaq can play with JO/Sheed at back-up PF and use Davis as a SF. The multiple interchangeable line-ups, depending on match-ups and style of game play, will be unlimited with this group. And I have to believe, as I have been hoping all summer, that Sheed will come back to play with this group. Our front line is going to smack that smile off the Lakers faces. Go ahead and bring it Kobe…Shaq Smack and Celtics roll to banners #18 & #19 and then DA can rebuild. Go Cs…

  • Mindless dribble….

    If the Celtics can get Shaq on the cheap, they’re nuts not to do it. Hopefully you write an article apologizing for being incompetent when they hang #18 this year

  • CaptBubbles

    Zach, use whatever stats you want to pick and choose, but if the Cavs played worse with Shaq then why did they lose 38% of their games when Shaq was NOT playing vs 32% of their games when he was playing? Clearly, if Shaq made the Cavs worse then they should have won more games when Shaq was not on the floor at all.

  • Yes, it’s true the Cavs were worse with Shaq on the floor. But can’t a lot of that be attributed to the fact that Shaq played with the starters mostly, and slowed down an otherwise speedy offense that should have been playing fast break ball? When Varajeo entered the game, LeBron and Co. did more run-and–gun and that’s why they succeeded. Like you said, Zach, the defense was about equal with him in or out. On the Celtics, it’s a different story–we mostly play half court offense. With our transition game mostly coming off of steals and Rondo pushing the pace with Ray trailing.Playing with the second unit, in a half court offense, I don’t see our team suffering as much as the Cavs did with Shaq on the court.

  • greg reyes

    Bringing shaq is the best move that ainge did this summer,congrats danny.Now let those fakers play with us now!!! I was waiting all summer for this. Now lets hang up banner #18 and #19 and all those celtics haters could watch and weep ha-ha.The fakers,tragic,and the miami treat could all sit down and cry boo-hoo.

  • Mick

    Good, well-reasoned article. Just one observation/question: How did Baby and Perk do in the 08-09 playoffs together? If my memory serves, not too bad. The problem this year is that Baby, for whatever reason, forgot how to make jumpshots. And one shouldn’t assume, no matter how washed up he seems, that Shaq is as incompetent a scorer/shot-creator as Perk. I mean, he’s been 20+ ppg per 40 min his entire career. Perk might have been that for a month this year.

  • I love Green

    Shaq made the cavs offense worse, but defense better.

  • Adrian

    now we officially signed Shaq, for our biggest weakness rebounding.

  • wicked Awesome

    good pick up for vet min. will def help on the boards. we need one more shooter and we will be in great shape!

  • Adrian

    I think we need a SF who is athletic.

  • ego roots

    we’re going to be top 5 in every rebounding category, no doubt…

    so what number is Shaq gonna wear…? 30- like rasheed? or 38 – like his age…?

  • ego roots

    we pick up delonte and we have every psyche-out character/player there is for every superstar on a contending team… LOL

  • DeVelaine

    @ego: Everything’s pointing to 36 as the number he’ll wear, and that’s what’s posted on NBA.com.

  • 15GREEN15

    we should sign sims now .. hes an athletic SF i think .

  • Simon

    I’m surprised that statistically the Cavs defense was about the same with Shaq in. Watching the playoffs the Celtics took advantage of him repeatedly on Pick and rolls and fast break opportunities. Rondo became a monster anytime Shaq was in the game, getting open 10-15 footers and fast break opportunities repeatedly. I suspect that stat was just a function of Shaq mostly coming off the bench int eh regular season. There is no doubt to me that Varejao was a lot better for the Cavs defense.

    The Celtics defense will be a lot weaker when Shaq is in. I can’t wait to see a Kobe-Pau pick and roll with Shaq guarding Gasol…Kobe gets repeated wide open 15 foot jumpers? Oh ya!

  • strips

    the big leprechaun has landed…

  • Kevin

    You know what will be interesting to see is a 2nd team of this

    J Oneal PF
    S Oneal C
    Big Baby SF
    Allen or Pierce SG
    Rondo or Nate PG

    That will pose quite a few mismatches for ANY team lol.

    ok look at this now.

    J Oneal vs Bosh or Gasol
    S Oneal vs Big Z or Bynum
    Big Baby vs ????Miami or Artest
    Allen or Pierce vs Wade or Lebum or Kobe(we know Kobe will be on Rondo though like in the Finals)
    Rondo or Nate vs Chalmers/Wade/Lebum or Fischer/Kobe

    Funny thing is if Cs run that lineup or even insert KG for Oneal who guards Big Baby.

    I know we cant expect Baby to contain Lebum or Wade HOWEVER though you wouldnt be able to expect Lebum or Wade to cover Baby. Baby will tear them up with his shear size and combination of his speed that is very underrated.

  • CaptBubbles

    It’s official. 2yrs! (insert Zach groan here) Can one of you fine Celtic Hubbers type up a “Welcome Shaq” post ?

  • Nathan

    Yeah you got to pick the right lineups and the right timing but when I think specifically about those shots Rasheed took at the end of game 7 I think I know I’d rather have Shaq taking those.

  • Shooter

    I think you need to re-address your article Zach…..seriously,come on, there’s more negativity in that post than the War in Afghanistan.
    Someone said it here, can’t remember who,remember the Cavs had the best record in the league with Shaq playing 23 minutes per game.And why we’re at it,when Shaq was traded to Phoenix, they posted the best record for teams that made a trade at the deadline.
    Shaq will be coming off the bench,how is that not good.Cavs finished with the best record last season.Phoenix improved when they made the trade for Shaq.Record 18-11.
    For all the deficiencies/weaknesses this article addresses, it fails to mention the single most important stat…………winning.

  • Shooter

    WELCOME TO BEANTOWN SHAQ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    YEAH YEAH YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Carl

    He can’t play with Jermaine because Jermaine is a natural center? I seem to remember Jermaine’s best seasons being when he played PF alongside Brad Miller, Scot Pollard, and Jeff Foster in Indiana…

  • CaptBubbles

    Totally agree with Shooter

    WELCOME SHAQ!!!!!!!

    Can’t wait to see you bring the old school to the lane & put the beat down on all these soft bigs!

  • CaptBubbles

    Thought a post would be up by now…

    Here is the Ainge & Shaq statement

    “It is not every day that you can add a player of Shaquille’s caliber to your team,” said Danny Ainge, Celtics President of Basketball Operations. “His past experience speaks for itself and we believe that he is a great fit for our roster.”

    “I am honored to be joining the Celtics,” said O’Neal. “I have played against Paul, Ray, Kevin, Rajon, and Jermaine for many years and it will be great to be able to call them my teammates. I cannot wait to get to Boston to get started in pursuit of another championship.”

  • Kevin


    He can’t play with Jermaine because Jermaine is a natural center? I seem to remember Jermaine’s best seasons being when he played PF alongside Brad Miller, Scot Pollard, and Jeff Foster in Indiana…

    Why cant he play with Jermaine? Jermaine has played PF before like you said and it was some of Jermaines’ best seasons. So why wouldn’t you move him Jermaine to PF then?

  • Chris Pangalos

    I think there are three very important points missing here…

    #1: Shaq can, in the short and long term, help Perk and the C’s needs at center today and going forward. First and foremost, if Perk is parked til February or March, they’re going to need someone to share minutes with a vastly diminished Jermaine O’Neal (and with the fun and ferocity those two can bring, I’m dubbing that duo “Shaqainery O’Neal”…don’t like that? I DON’T CARE!!!) If you look at the biggest problem Perk has, it’s scoring/finishing at the cup. Hands down. Shaq is most proficient at doing what? Using his size and strength to score/finish at the cup. I can think of worse things than Shaq mentoring Perk on how to best capitalize on his natural gifts (just keep him away from Perk when he’s on the line).

    #2: Shaq has, is and always will be about winning championships. It’s why he’s made every move he has (hmmm…makes you wonder about this whole Lebron thing again considering Shaq has NEVER been ripped for jumping to greener pastures, but I digress). Has he won everywhere he’s gone? No. But to be fair, Phoenix never had a shot at winning with or without him and Cleveland is, afterall, well, CLEVELAND. Shaq’s never been about “PAY me”, as much as “RING me”. No matter how you slice it, that’s the kind of attitude I want from an aging veteran who has four rings already and is still hungry for more. He wants to win and is willing to do what it takes to make that happen (including, obviously, taking a miniscule salary, in comparison to his career, and coming off the bench).

    #3: Shaq is fun and fun = loose and this team has been ANYTHING BUT loose over the past two seasons. Has he had rifts with teammates? Yes. But if you take Kobe out of the equation, I’m not sure that Shaq would ever have been “known for” that kind of thing (besides, I don’t know anyone that sides with Kobe in that feud so I’m not certain that he even SHOULD be known for that).

    At the end of the day, Shaq is a fun-loving overgrown kid who is good for morale and the future of the center position in Boston. He might also be good enough to help this team combat L.A.’s bigs in the Finals and give them something that was a glaring deficiency in last year’s Finals.

    And hey, who knows, maybe “The Big Shamrock” will be the 7’1″ 325 lb good luck charm this team needs to burst through a rapidly closing window.

  • Daniel

    Writer forgets entirely that Perkins is HURT and may not play for a large portion of the season and may not come back 100%

  • luffy3

    @ chris pangalos

  • I love Green

    I don’t want him for 2 years.

    1 would be fantastic, but I don’t want a 40 year old on my team.

  • luffy3

    @chris pangalos

    As someone who has watched shaq his entire career and firsthand with the Lakers, I would agree completely with Zach’s concerns. The celtics’ heart and soul have been committed to defense the last 3 years, it is what makes them an elite team. Shaq will probably mess up all of that because of his horrific S&R defense and slow feet.As for your 3 points:

    1) Shaq may finish at the rim well but he turns the ball over a lot down there too. His turnovers come mostly on losing the ball, not like Perkins’, which come on illegal screens. In Perkins’ case, all the questionable screens he sets help the team (when not called illegal), whereas Shaq’s turnovers do not.

    2)Hilarious. Shaq likes rings but money more. Did you not see how he has wanted 7 million this whole offseason before finally realizing nobody wanted him?
    And its ironic that you say that he never said, “Pay me,” the biggest reason Jerry Buss traded him was because JERRY got sick of him and his whining/bad habits, and Shaq got on TV and chanted “PAY ME MY MONEY, JERRY!”. So, umm…. you might want to revisit your history.

    3) Shaq has arguments with teammates on every team he has been on, he has just had people covering for him. These include: Hardaway, Skiles, Kobe, Jerry Buss, Micky Arison, Phil Jackson, Jerry West, Pat Riley, most of the Phoenix Suns, and more. Everywhere he has gone he has burned bridges. Its why Riley wouldn’t even consider bringing him back to Miami, even though the Heat are starving for a center.
    And since I assume you live in Boston, where Kobe hate is a de facto thing, you really should find other sources for your understanding of Lakers history. Shaq had a huge part in that in breaking up that team.

    But regardless, good luck on the upcoming season. I’m sure the celtics will have a say in things, one way or another.

  • Shooter

    @luffy Please go away,your nonsense is giving me brain farts.Shaq had every right to seek the dollar first,especially in this market where scrubs/nobodies are getting paid like they’ve done something.When the market dried up he made the sensible decision to join a contender.
    As for your points on Shaq being the one and only enforcer of the notorious “Kobe-Shaq” feud.They were both responsible for what was said between them.As i recall it,Shaq had displeasure towards Kobe because Kobe wasn’t playing within the triangle,2001.We all know Kobe was a ballhog and lacked a sense of trust towards his team mates,prior to the Gasol trade.
    Kobe has arguments with his organisation,so what’s your point again.

    And Kobe hate is a worldwide thing pal.

    Oh yeah,as for your 1st point.Turnovers are turnovers regardless of how they’re made.

  • Alex

    LoL the Chowds get a 39 year old MAN!! Face it little chowds. The Lakers had him when he was most dominant. But is all good. Lakers vs Celtics part III. Lakers win again. ‘Nuff said and #18 will have to wait!! While the Lakers get #17 and #18 the next 2 years. Peace!!

  • Rapster

    Good move! Now trade for Rudy Fernandez

  • c pash

    did somebody post that big baby would tear up lebron? haha celtic fans are as delusional as they say. big baby might b good for an 18 point game once every 20 games, but that’s about it.

    Celtics won’t win a championship for another 6 years. Ainge isn’t a good gm, he’s a LUCKY gm. I predict half the roster will be out with injuries by end of February

  • Really good news.
    A top 10 player at his position for the league’s minimum ! Hell, some of us, thought Shaq might cost us Sheed’s contract or at least a first rounder. Now Rasheed’s contract could be used to bring perhaps the future of the Celtics and put us as front runners to win it all this year.
    Now we can pair Sheed’s contract with Perk to bring a young gun, an all-star type player who is 25 or younger.
    Perkings is a warrior and a pretty good complement for the big 3 and Rondo. But his game is limited and he has clearly reached his ceiling. Rumors during the draft had Danny trying to move him. Perhaps the C’s should strongly consider this now. I don’t know if Rasheed’s contract has to be used before the season starts , but if we could, we can bring a player like Iguodala (just throwing a name out there).
    Perkings contract is due soon and a good center usually commands 10 mill per season, is he worth it?
    This is just another thing to think about, now that we have the O’neals.
    Even if Perk is never traded I think he might not be 100% or even 80% when the playoffs go. The injury is serious enough to at least think of that as a possibility. So for 2011 – even at 39 and 31 – this are the Celtics best centers since the Chief.
    Also 1 last thought, talent wise, could you imagine if we had all this guys 10 years ago?
    Pierce, Allen, Garnett, J and S O’neal?

  • Alex

    Another 6 YEARS? Don’t you mean DECADES? hehe

  • Demetri

    c pash is right, Ainge is a lucky gm. i’m a fan but the window closed last season, other teams got better and we got older, slower, and desperate to remain relevant.

  • Cusith

    Shaq – The Four Ton Clover? You are welcome to him. His skills are waning and his head has always been suspect. As a role player he may have some limited assets, but I don’t see this as a game changer. Shaq, PP, Ray and KG will all be a year older. Doc is going to have his hands full bringing these guys in fresh enough to make much of a run come playoff time.

  • jonathan

    A quote from Adande’s article on the Shaq signing:

    “As Tony Sinisi of the oddsmaking group Las Vegas Sports Consultants said, the effect of O’Neal going to Boston “would be a flat-liner. It gives them a presence in the middle; he’s … an influence that wouldn’t affect the future book odds in our world.””

    Vegas wins for a reason. Those who set the lines know what they’re doing. Shaq is not a game-changer anymore.

  • luffy3


    The internet is funny, you say one thing, someone else reads it and decides you said something else. This was my statement.
    “Shaq had a huge part in that in breaking up that team.”
    Does that say he was the only one involved? If it does, I don’t see where. Of Bryant had his part. He has admitted that himself.

    What shaquille said in the past was all centered around “Give me the ball, I should get the ball more.” The lakers ran their entire offense through him almost all the time and won 3 rings. Most of the time, Kobe was the one GIVING Shaq the ball. He ran the offense. But whenever the lakers would lose, inevitably it was because Shaquille “didn’t get the ball enough.” Nobody was allowed to say that he sucked on S&R defense, that he was rarely in shape, that he took a third of the year off with various “injuries,” that he sucked at free throws, etc. It was always “kobe is a ball hog, give me the ball more.” As if Kobe did nothing to help them win.

    Also here is a recent article by LZ Granderson saying much of the same things regarding Shaq and past teams. Try reading the whole thing. I can find more from other sources as well.

    And good job cherry picking through my post, ignoring what you couldn’t refute, which was most of it, and choosing to ridicule the rest with “common knowledge.” Which is also mostly untrue.

    But hey, I’m not going to convince you, and you have the big guy now. Have fun with that this year. And the next.

  • Shooter

    @luffy Come on get outta here will ya.
    Lakers won 3 chips man,Shaq won 3 straight Final MVPs, get out,Shaq lead the Lakers in scoring,efficiency,OWS and DWS:http://www.basketball-reference.com/teams/LAL/2000.html
    2 out of those 3 championship seaosns,till Kobe became a ballhog and volume shots taker.
    And if you get a kick outta posting links about Shaq’s feud with Kobe,or any other arguments Shaq has had,which happened what,8 years ago,so be it.
    And yes, i will enjoy watching Shaq play here and the next thanks for asking.

  • matt

    the one point I dont agree with is that you cant have Shaq and JO on the court together. It might not be the best in ever case, but there will be matcups where this can work fine. JO has a good outside shot(despite how bad he wa sin the playoffs against Bos). JO can play the 4 with shaq at times over the course of the season and even in the playoffs at times, Doc will just have to be careful who that other 4 on the floor is for the other team.

  • matt

    Another criticism I have heard people make is that this will slow the celitics down like it did with other teams…….I want to just remind those people that the celtics are already an older half court team….they just happen to have a point guard that is every fast breaking teams wet dream.

  • Skippy

    Kobe’s gonna love this championship win against Boston and The Diesel! Talk about motivating a sleeping tiger…………love it…..

    Go Lakers!

  • So now he’s a sleeping tiger? Does that mean he’s no longer the black mamba? I don’t think Kobe needs any extra motivation. Dude likes to win.

  • Kevin

    I think what all the nay-sayers are missing out on here is that the C’s are getting a dominate offensive player/rebounder for Leaugue minimum. Do you really think that he was over 10x better last year? Because he is taking an over 90% pay cut. I wouldn’t want Shaq for $20 over 2 seasons, but shoot, I’ll take him at what the C’s got him. He will open up the floor a lot more for Ray Allen jump shots and be a nice target for Rondo. Once Shaq goes in the air, you can’t get him down, regardless of age.

  • legendary lakers

    Im so happy you losers got snaq hes going to basically hand the championship to the lakers and hopefully step on kgs little chicken legs and injure him.

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