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Shaquille O'Neal: Speed Bump or Road Block?

Jeremy MasonCorrespondent IFebruary 6, 2008

With Shaq heading to Phoenix (physical pending), many Suns fans (myself included) are left with some questions:

How is Shaq going to fit in with D'Antoni's offensive philosophy?

Was this move just to keep up with the Jones' (Lakers)?

Does this change the fast-paced style we know and love?

Does The Diesel have anything left in the tank?

First of all let me say that no, Shaq will not fit in with Phoenix's style. Don't worry though, he won't be playing much.

In fact when I first read about this trade this thought crossed my mind: How is an old injured Shaq who is averaging 28.5 minutes per game going to replace a young energetic Marion who averages almost 40?

Unfortunately, the answer is: He's not.

This means the Suns will need to find more than ten additional quality minutes per game out of Brian Skinner. I just don't see that happening.

Here's another problem: What is the only complaint everybody has about Amare Stoudemire's game?


S.T.A.T is fourth in the league at 3.8 personal fouls per game. He trails only Boozer, Mikki Moore, and The Diesel! With Amare and Shaq in foul trouble, the Suns interior defense will often be anchored by Brian Skinner and Boris Diaw. Forget about the Lakers...that duo couldn't guard my high school team's front court!

So, Phoenix fans, I have good news and bad news concerning this "blockbuster."

The good news: Phoenix is not going to lose its fast-paced seven-seconds-or-less "controlled-chaos" (as Kenny Smith put it) offense.

The bad news: Although the Suns should get just as many fast breaks as before...they've traded their best fast-break finisher for an old overrated past-his-prime center who hasn't seen a fast-break in five years.

I read an article that said Shaq in Phoenix means a sure championship. While I hope this is true, I can't help but feel that this move only undoes the giant step towards a championship that Phoenix made last offseason when they signed Grant Hill.

Final verdict: If you like the Suns...pray like hell that Shaq fails his physical!

Other than that, I foresee a rebirth of the Lakers-Celtics rivalry come June.

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