Shaq Responds to Draymond Green: 'I'd Have Torn Your Ass Up on That Block'

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMay 13, 2020

CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 7: Shaquille O'Neal, Matt Winer, Chris Webber, Charles Barkley of NBA TV chats with Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors after the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game Three of the 2017 NBA Finals on June 7, 2017 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
Joe Murphy/Getty Images

Shaquille O'Neal responded to Draymond Green's comments that he and Steph Curry would have "destroyed Shaq in the pick and roll," saying he would have owned Green down low. 

"I try not to get personal with guys' opinions," O'Neal said on his podcast, The Big Podcast with Shaq. "But however, Mr. Draymond, like you said, I'd have torn your ass up on that block."

Green made his comments on the All the Smoke podcast (via Zac Al-Khateeb of Sporting News):

"Shaq has always been one of my favorite players. But I've always watched the game as a student of the game. Me and Steph Curry would have f--king destroyed Shaq in the pick and roll. [But] Shaq would've f--king murdered me on the block. These are two completely different games we're talking about. ... In our era of basketball, we would have destroyed them. But in Shaq and [Kobe Bryant's] era, where they're f--king dumping the ball down to Shaq, we probably would have got crushed. That's just the reality."

O'Neal agreed with Green's sentiment that the time period of the theoretical matchup would matter. He did push back against the notion that he would be less effective in the modern era of basketball, however, which is less physical than when he played and more predicated on perimeter shooting and floor spacing. 

"A lot of people don't think I could play in this era," he said. "But a lot of people forget I was the first big, black guy to take it off the glass and go coast-to-coast. Giannis [Antetokounmpo] wasn't the first, I was the first guy to do that. So when I was doing it, coaches were like, 'Nah, nah don't do it.' Now, it's accepted."

Another factor in Shaq's favor is that he was an underrated passer. He often didn't need to pass out of the block, considering he could bully opposing centers and get easy buckets for himself. But when defenses collapsed on him, he was often able to find the open look. 

Granted, Green makes a strong point that Shaq would struggle in the modern NBA with the floor spacing that has become so popular. And with no hand-checking, players like Curry and Klay Thompson are harder stay tight against. 

Curry probably wouldn't have been quite as effective in a more physical league, though his limitless range would have kept him relevant. Other prolific shooters like Reggie Miller thrived in the era, after all. But the easiest conclusion to draw from the debate is that both Shaq and Curry benefitted from the era they played in, and both Shaq's Los Angeles Lakers and Curry's Golden State Warriors are among the most dominant teams in NBA history.