O’Neal Takes Shots at Williams For Not Getting His

By: T.J. Zuppe

There is no question about how ugly this off-season has been for the Cleveland Cavaliers. From Lebron James’, “Look at me, look at me” special on ESPN, to the feud with James and current owner Dan Gilbert, to the dismantling of the 60-win teams of the last couple of years, no one can argue the Cavaliers have taken quite a few shots to the mid-section.

However, to former Cavaliers’ center Shaquille O’Neal, it was a different type of shots he was concerned about not getting.

O’Neal signed recently with the Boston Celtics, but on his way out the door in Cleveland, has left a few parting shots of his own, in comparing his former team, to his new home.

“I like that they play together and nobody really worries about shots, ” O’Neal said. “When I was with Cleveland, guys who couldn’t even play were worried about shots. Why was Mo (Williams) taking 15 shots, and I’m only taking four? If LeBron takes 20 shots, that’s cool.”

Maybe we are missing something, or O’Neal did not mean it exactly how it came out. But the problem with that comment is pretty obvious.

Former Cavalier Shaquille O'Neal

He on one hand is complaining about the number of shots he did not get in Cleveland, compared to his teammates that he felt were undeserving, in this case, Williams. That is a quote that could definitely be viewed as selfish in nature.

Yet, on the other side of things, O’Neal is applauding how unselfish the play in Boston is, and how players do not necessarily care about the number of shot opportunities they receive, as long as they are winning ballgames.

Does anyone else see the confusion, and hypocrisy of that statement?

Certainly, O’Neal was brought in to Cleveland, and was supposed to fill a lesser role than he had in years passed. He was no longer a superstar, and for all intents and purposes, not even just a star.

In fact, the Cavs asked him to essentially be unselfish, and do whatever was necessary to win ballgames in the postseason. O’Neal seemed on board, and even dubbed his arrival in Cleveland as a way to “get a ring for the King”.

We know how it played out, with O’Neal not living up to expectations, as he seemed to age before our very eyes. He finished averaging 12 points, and 6.7 rebounds per contest in 53 regular season games.

He also averaged 8.7 shots per game, the fewest of his career, and roughly three less than he saw in Phoenix the previous season, when he averaged 17.8 points per matchup.

In the playoffs, O’Neal averaged 11.5 points for the Cavaliers.

The truth is, O’Neal should be looking more at himself, rather than point the finger at a person like Williams. In the interest of fairness, Williams actually put some pride aside, and swallowed a lesser role when “Shaq” was brought to town.

While he was obsessed with not getting enough shots to make himself happy, and still appear as a better than average center, Williams was seeing his shots per game fall by 1.5, and his points by two.

And in the interest of fairness, per 36 minutes of play, O’Neal averaged 13.4 shots, to Williams’ 13, nearly a half shot more when the playing field of minutes was evened.

Former Cavs Center Shaquille O'Neal

While none can dispute the point guards’ disappointing play at times, he certainly was not shouting on rooftops about how angered he was to be losing shots to a slow, and aging center with a bad attitude.

But we should not be surprised. This is how the normal process goes for “The Diesel”, in his new locations.

He rides into town on a white stallion, saying all the right things, and playing the role of the good soldier. On his way out, he is alienating everyone he played with, and shining the blame on everyone other than himself.

So while O’Neal is concerned about getting more attempts, Williams has spent this off-season as “Mr. Cavalier”, and establishing that he wants to become a more well-rounded basketball player, and showing his love and loyalty to the city of Cleveland, something that will go a long way with the Cavalier fans this upcoming year at the Q.

Quote courtesy of NOLA.com

Follow T.J. Zuppe on Twitter @TJZuppe


1 Comment

  1. Interesting read…however, when the Milwaukee Bucks think that Luke Ridnour is a better option at PG than Mo Williams…maybe Shaq has a bit of a point. However, I also think Mo Williams was brought in to be a scoring option for the Cavs. Oh well, Mo Williams can have ALL the shots he wants to now. lol


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