It’s All In The Game: Shaq To The Future

Wow, things really took a turn last week in the NBA didn’t they? First, the

Lakers hit the lottery and got Pau Gasol for basically nothing (i.e. Kwame

Brown).

 

Then the Phoenix Suns pulled one of the most shocking trades in recent

history, by shipping off Shawn Marion for Shaquille O’Neal.

 

How do these moves shake up the Western Conference? First of all, I can bet

that a lot of teams in the West are absolutely furious at the Memphis Grizzlies

for pulling a Kevin McHale-esque move by and giving up a lot for a little.

 

Gasol, a career 19 and 9 guy,  gives

the Lakers a post player who can hit a 15-foot jump show and more importantly,

can command a double team. Any big man who can command a double team will give

guys like Kobe

and  D-Fish open jump shots all day.

 

And you know Pau

has no problem playing second fiddle to Kobe.

That is the good thing about acquiring an All Star from a losing team. They are

so happy to be out of their losing situation that they’ll happily defer to the

stars on their new team – which I’m sure Kobe would have no problem with. Kobe has definitely had

more bounce to his step on and off the court since the Lakers pulled the

trigger on Gasol. Bryant’s confidence is at an all time high and that is not

good news for the rest of the west.

 

I like the trade. I think when Bynum comes back, they have the tools to make

a serious run at the title, and this is good for the league. I think the league

and most people want to see a Lakers and Celtics NBA Final. And after what Phoenix just pulled, that

might not be too far fetched. 

 

Speaking of Phoenix, is it just me, or did this trade make absolutely no

sense? Okay we get it, Shawn Marion was unhappy and there were probably factors

that were going on behind closed doors regarding the Matrix. But for Shaquille

O’Neal? It is one thing if the Suns traded for someone like Andrei Kirilinko or

Richard Jefferson, someone who would fill in the lanes and play the uptempo

Phoenix Suns’ basketball. But doesn’t getting Shaq contradict that whole

strategy?

 

If this going to work for Phoenix, they are going to have to play a whole

new system of basketball. The good news for Suns’ fans is Shaq can still demand

a double team and the Suns have some good perimeter shooters. Also, he is big

enough to defend the likes of an Andrew Bynum or a Tim Duncan. Plus, Shaq is

not a happy camper. He knows people are criticizing his ability, so you know he’s

got a big chip on his shoulder and is dying to prove people wrong.

 

But regardless, I still think this was a mistake. Banking on Shaq to mesh

with Nash and Amare is a huge gamble. Why jeopardize the chemistry they already

had? I agree with what Michael Bivins predicted in his last blog – this was the

year Phoenix

was to get over the hump. Now, I’m not so sure.

 

These final 30 games are going to be really interesting. All these big

trades and free agent signings are far from done. Remember, there are still a

few weeks until the trade deadline, so you never know where guys like Jason

Kidd, Jermaine O’Neal or Kirk Hinrich might end up. After what we’ve seen this

past week, anything can happen!  

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