O’Neal talks about LeBron James, Anthony Davis, OKC Thunder

shaquille-lakerShaquille O’Neal has recently spoken with Nola.com about the current state of the NBA, in particular about New Orleans Pelicans power forward Anthony Davis, LeBron James’ return to Cleveland and other things.

In particular, O’Neal praised Anthony Davis, who has recently shined, while playing with Team USA at the Fiba 2014 Championships.

“He’s real,” O’Neal said. “I remember when he got hurt (last season), but he came back strong. His jumper looks nice. His legs look fresh. He runs the court and plays that defense. They are going to be a sleeper team this year.”

Commenting on whether LeBron James made the right decision to return to Cleveland after being in Miami for the last four seasons, O’Neal said LeBron has already proved a lot of people wrong.

“The one thing they cannot say is that he hasn’t won,” Shaq said. “He has a little pressure to win in Cleveland, but not as much. If his career ended today, what he’s got – two titles. I thought it was a good thing.”

Although, O’Neal says Cleveland does have some issues that will need to be addressed.

“They are the team to beat now. But I’m concerned about their coach and their bench, but we’ll just have to see. The good thing for them is that the East isn’t really that tough. They’ll probably have to worry about Washington and maybe Chicago,” O’Neal said.

What about Miami? O’Neal says they’re not the team they were last season, and the hopes aren’t that high anymore.

“I don’t even know about Miami. They’ll win some games, but they are not one of the contenders anymore,” he said.

With regards to Oklahoma City Thunder, O’Neal said every team needs to make sacrifices to move ahead.

“In the history of the game, every one-two punch – the one or the two  – has to sacrifice and step back. Russell Westbrook don’t step back enough for me,” O’Neal said.

At some point for the betterment of the team, you’ve got to step back. Until Westbrook learns to step back, it may be hard for them. Kevin Durant is the man, but Westbrook is like I’m getting mine every time. You can’t do it.”

O’Neal, who retired from the NBA not so long ago, and he remains a prime example of a dominant NBA center, who won both as a player and as part of a team.

It has been three years since O’Neal announced his retirement from the NBA after 19 seasons. Still, O’Neal remains in the spotlight without even stepping on the court.

He played in 1207 NBA games (1197 started), averaging 23.7 ppg, 10.9 rpg, 2.3 bpg in 34.7 minutes of action.

O’Neal was a 15-time NBA All-Star, and won 4 NBA championships (three with Los Angeles Lakers, one with Miami Heat). He is considered to be among the best centers ever to play in the NBA.


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