Draft night is over and done, and with it came few surprises. I'm happy to report that my predictions laid out in my mock draft were astonishingly accurate and I promise further analysis in the future. The biggest stories on Tuesday, however, were two blockbuster trades of superstars to contenders in the East. Vince Carter will join the already loaded Magic in Orlando and in, metaphorically and literally, bigger news, Shaquille O'Neal will join Lebron James and the Cleavland Cavaliers. The Big Shogun has left Phoenix to try to gift the young King with a title, as he did for Kobe and Dwayne Wade.
Shaq is old, and, because of a profoundly disappointing inability to alter the flow of time, is getting even older. That said, Shaq is still one of the most dominant players around the basket in the entire league and a massive, game-altering presence on either end. Combined with the Chosen One, Cleavland is looking more and more like a juggernaut. Stopping Lebron alone was a problem that few teams could even begin to wrap their heads around. The idea of trying to stop both Lebron and Shaq seems like a near impossibility.
Fortunately, despite Twitter boasts to the contrary, Shaq is (probably) not a living incarnation of an ancient god or unbeatable omniscient and omnipotent force from another dimension. He has his weaknesses and flaws and they have been conveniently scouted out and been reported on. I refer you to this video:
There are several applicable lessons would be Shaq slayers can take from this video. I will enumerate the main points of this strategy.
1. Psychological intimidation. Shaq is a formidable physical presence, so you should try to press any mental advantage you might have by getting in his head.
"I knew I could take him
Stared' at Shaq, psyche him out
I said O'Neal, you're in my house now"
With the draft night revelation that Shaq has been having not verbal but mental conversations with Lebron, however, this tactic might not be worth pursuing. Clearly the Big Aristotle has been training his psychic abilities.
2. Rely on deception and steals. It seems underhanded, but you want to win right?
"I had a plan, that I could change the pace
I said, Yo Shaq you didn't tie your shoelace
He looked down, I stole the ball
I'm taking him to school now, watch me all."
3. Reliance on threes. Be efficient and try to only take open and high percentage shots. This is a good way to maximize the bang for your buck against the stifling defense.
"A 3-pointer, nothing but net
Come on Shaq, had enough yet?
Down by two, I'm catching up
I guess your getting nervous
Cuz you already lost"
4. Dunk, dunk, dunk. These are the highest percentage shots there are, and, done properly, less likely to get blocked by Diesel. They have the added bonus of demoralizing Shaq and the potential of getting him in foul trouble.
"Dunk after dunk
Jam after jam
Cheerleaders are cheering
Aaron's the man"
Shaq is a challenging opponent, but as you can see from the video, there are proven ways in which he can be defeated. Lesson learned: Careful adherence to these principles and the advice of washed up former middle school pop stars can help give your team the edge it needs to take down the newly beshaq'd Cavaliers.
Still no hope for stopping Lebron though.