DeMarcus Cousins is the type of player you can tie yourself in pretzels attempting to praise.
The Sacramento Kings center maneuvers his 6’11”, 270-pound frame with mind-boggling grace while still managing to bludgeon you in the post for boards and putbacks. He’s a special talent, and people will go to great lengths expressing their appreciation for his abilities.
In a recent interview with The Associated Press (h/t Ball Don’t Lie’s Eric Freeman), Divac placed O’Neal, now a minority owner of the Kings, in the box of artless enforcer while making the case for Cousins as the best big man he's ever laid eyes on.
“I’ve been in basketball a long, long time and I have to say [Cousins is] the most talented big guy I have ever seen,” Divac said. “Shaq wasn’t talented, he was just strong. I was talented, but I wasn’t strong.”
Divac continued to say O’Neal was “one of the most dominant players ever,” which he can attest to having banged bodies with the former Los Angeles Lakers center in the late 1990s and early 2000s while playing for the Charlotte Hornets and Sacramento Kings.
While Divac’s words may sound like unfair criticism (O’Neal had moves—many of them predicated on strength, but moves nonetheless), they were made as more of a broad-strokes argument for Cousins’ play than an intentional knock against O’Neal. Divac was the pinnacle of touch and cunning in big men, while O’Neal remains the golden standard of unstoppable forces in the post. Cousins blends these styles to terrifying results, which is Divac’s overarching message.
Of course, the 47-year-old Serbian clarified his thoughts on O’Neal by saying the dynamic between the two hasn’t changed from their playing days.
“He was always my boss,” Divac said.
Dan is on Twitter. Shaq was everyone’s boss at one point or another.