Shaq is the most “dominant” player I have ever seen on a NBA floor. I also believe there would be no play style that would force a team to bench him in any moment.
When I use the word dominant, it does not necessarily mean best or most efficient. It means that there are the fewest options from preventing the player from doing what they want to do, even though there is no secret to what they want to do. Shaq was going to put you on his back and then put you in the rim. Bill Russell obviously was dominant (RINGZZZ) but he also was playing against guys that were 5’5” and missed practice sometimes if they got chased by a dog on their postal route. Most rec leagues have more teams than were in the NBA at the time. Wilt was dominant, but winning was his issue. A combination of different era’s and lackluster competition make these two big-men hard to judge.
Shaq’s MVP and Finals MVP season of 2000-01 in which he averaged 26.2 points, 11.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 2.5 blocks, and shot 57% from the field. That is dominance, and he had Kobe next to him scoring 28 a game and taking 22 shots a game. Kobe’s presence was both a positive and a negative to Shaq’s performance, but the numbers tell it all. If you remember watching, he passed the eye test of dominance as well.
People always go to the “hack-a-Shaq” argument to get him off of the floor. First, with the new rules you cannot apply hack-a-Shaq because the team would get a free throw and the ball in the last 2 minutes of each quarter. Also the way in which the refs call flagrant fouls these days, it would be tough to effectively foul Shaq and he not get an and-1 without the risk of a flagrant. Hack-a-Shaq works on cats like DeAndre Jordan, but this ain’t that. You could not run him off the floor for any significant series.
The idea that spreading the floor with a small ball lineup as a weapon that could force Shaq off the floor is just as insane. Imagine this Warriors team lining up Draymond behind Shaq on the block…BARBEQUE FREAKING CHICKEN! On defense there are always ways to protect players and I think Shaq’s size allow people to forget how athletic Shaq was at the beginning of his career. He would be fine guarding people.
I agree that the Shaq prototype is not the most desired in today’s NBA but I also know that Shaq would put up ungodly numbers against these cats in the NBA today. He would foul out anyone you line up against him because they call soft fouls these days. There isn’t a player in the NBA that could guard him. He would average 30 and 15. The prospect of Shaq from the 2000 season in the NBA today, would cause NIGHTMARES.
So no he would not get ran off the floor, silly people.