NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Shaquille O’Neal made basketball fans do a double take last season when he said that then-Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum was better than then-Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard.
Well now Howard is the one in Los Angeles, and guess who he thinks is better than him now?
The future Hall of Famer thinks that none other than Nets center Brook Lopez is a better player than D12, too. If only he could remember his name.
“What we have now are centers that are going to the European style, which is a lot of pick-and-roll,” O’Neal said when discussing who the best big man in the NBA is on NBA.com. “Dwight Howard, who’s a pick-and-roll player, some people say he’s the best center in the league. But me being an old-school center, I’m going to go with Robin Lopez and Andrew Bynum because they play with their back to the basket.”
Shaq was asked if he instead meant Brook Lopez as opposed to his twin brother, Robin.
“Brook,” O’Neal said in regard to who he really meant. “Same thing. They’re brothers.”
A former first overall pick of the Magic, Howard is a three-time Defensive Player of the Year, a six-time All-Star, a four-time rebounding champion and a two-time blocks leader.
But regardless of the numbers, O’Neal remained adamant that he would take Lopez over Howard.
“I’m not talking about dunking,” O’Neal proclaimed. “I’m talking about playing like a big man with the moves. My man, before he had the foot injury, was putting up nice, solid big-man numbers. He don’t have a lot of flash, a la Tim Duncan, but he can play. If you put him with a nice team around him, you can get a lot from this big man. If you want to go to flash and dunking and the pick-and-roll, you gotta go with Dwight Howard.
“But me, I’m going with Andrew Bynum and which Lopez? Brook. Brook Lopez.”
Lopez, about to begin his fifth season in the NBA — all of which have been spent with the Nets — played only five games last season after breaking his foot and then twisting his right ankle. For his career, the seven-footer has averaged 17.4 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game.
Brooklyn signed him to four-year, $61 million contract extension on July 11.
Is this just Shaq being Shaq, or is there actually some merit to his argument? Sound off with your thoughts and comments below…