What’s the big idea? Shaq as a Hawk wouldn’t work

It’s believed the Hawks have interest in signing Shaquille O’Neal, and it’s believed he’s interested in playing here. This is, from the Hawks’ side, a terrible idea. The reasons why:

1. Shaq has almost nothing left. He’s 38. He weighs 750 pounds, give or take. Two seasons ago his team — the Phoenix Suns — didn’t make the playoffs. Last season he joined Cleveland, which promptly got worse: It declined from 66-16 in 2008-2009 to 61-21 in 2009-2010 and lost in Round 2 of the playoffs after reaching the Eastern Conference finals the year before. He averaged 12 points and 6.7 rebounds last season — approximately half his career averages.

2. At this stage of his career, Shaq isn’t as good a center as Al Horford. Yes, Shaq is bigger than Horfy. Shaq, as noted, is bigger than Stone Mountain. But bigger isn’t necessarily better. Horford averaged 14.2 points and 9.9 rebounds and made the All-Star team. Shaq has seen his last All-Star roster.

3. If they add Shaq, the Hawks would weaken themselves at THREE positions. I know a slew of folks insist Horford’s “true” position is power forward, but those folks are, and have always been, flat-out wrong. As gifted as Horford is, he would not be an All-Star at power forward. And if Horford moves to power forward, Josh Smith must play on the perimeter. And nobody in his right mind wants that. A small forward has to shoot (and make) jump shots. Do you really want to grant Smith that license? Thought not.

4. Even if he says he’s willing to take a lesser role, he’s still Shaquille O’Neal. Meaning: He’s an outsize presence with outsize cachet. A NBA man swears the Cavs underperformed because Shaq drove a wedge between coach Mike Brown and LeBron James. Let the record reflect that Brown had led the Cavs to the 2007 NBA finals and was the league’s coach of the year in 2008-2009. Let the record also reflect that Brown is out of work. Now imagine what Shaq might do to a rookie head coach, meaning Larry Drew.

5. This has Moses Malone written all over it. For late tuners-in: The Hawks won 50 games in 1987-88 and nearly upset the Boston Celtics in Round 2 of the playoffs. Desperate to go further, they traded for Reggie Theus and signed Moses Malone. They wound up winning only two more regular-season games and being eliminated by the undermanned Milwaukee Bucks in Round 1 in 1988-89, essentially ending the Hawks’ dreams of contention. And Moses, we should note, was 33 when he arrived here and much closer to his Hall of Fame prime than Shaq is today.

310 comments Add your comment

lancer

July 6th, 2010
9:23 am

First. Let Josh shoot

DP

July 6th, 2010
9:26 am

MB…the only reason I see for signing Shaq…management thinks it would sell a few more tickets.

Mark Bradley

July 6th, 2010
9:26 am

Kudos, lancer.

Mark Bradley

July 6th, 2010
9:27 am

It might sell a few more tickets, DP. But I don’t believe it would win any more games.

Decatur Native

July 6th, 2010
9:27 am

the big peachtree or Shaq-lanta

Decatur Native

July 6th, 2010
9:30 am

Only way I can see it working if he comes in to show them “How to win” like how to go hard in practice, intenseity levels during games, most of all attitude, I think it would work kinda how it did in Miami more so than Cleveland.

DP

July 6th, 2010
9:31 am

If he signs here, FLA has Shamu, then we’d have Shaluga

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

July 6th, 2010
9:32 am

Just say no to the Big Cactus , or whatever he is going by this time. he would sell tickets but he would only be good for about 15 minutes a game i would rather have randolph morris. Drew does not need this headache and I am a shaq fan , that is the shaq of 10 or even five years ago

J.J.M.

July 6th, 2010
9:33 am

good morning mark. you know anything about the josh smith trade rumors?

Michael

July 6th, 2010
9:33 am

Shaq wouldn’t be a starting center at this point. He’d be Horford’s backup, and in particular would be a wide body to counter Dwight Howard when needed. They could make worse moves.

Scotty

July 6th, 2010
9:37 am

completely disagree, and i think you’re missing the point here. we need help defending the better post players in the East, one of the reasons we got killed by the Magic is we have ZERO answer for Dwight, and we wouldn’t have made it out of the first round had the Bucks been trotting out Bogut every night.

we won’t win more regular season games, but we will win more playoff games with this move.

Mark Bradley

July 6th, 2010
9:38 am

Really? And Shaq helped Cleveland win more playoff games?

Nick

July 6th, 2010
9:42 am

Just because Josh would not line up with the 3 on paper does not suddenly mean he has to play the 3. There is no rule that says you can not have 2 guys who play the 4 on your squad…

dap01

July 6th, 2010
9:42 am

On paper it sounds like a good idea. But Shaq would not accept being a role player and his history the past couple of years says that he would not help.

Cleveland was worse with him.

Nick

July 6th, 2010
9:42 am

Excuse me, just because he would line up with the 3 on paper. My mistake…

Mike

July 6th, 2010
9:42 am

I disagree Mark. A small doesn’t necessarily have to shoot. A small can be effective without any plays called for him, like Shawn Marion. I think the 3 would be more effective for Josh. He could use his athletic ability even more by slashing, upping his offensive rebounds, catching more alley-oops, and shooting occasional threes … like Marion. Putting Josh in a position to drive while being guarded by sligthly smaller players is just what we need. AND … I’d agrue we’d get double out of him than what we get out of marvin from night to night … even if he didn’t take one shot.

ew

July 6th, 2010
9:43 am

Just when I thought the front office had it’s ish together and was making smart moves by keeping JJ…so much for THAT….

Contrary to popular belief, Shaq is NOT the answer to defend the post. We have to get better as a TEAM defense and Shaq doesn’t do that.

Mike

July 6th, 2010
9:43 am

However … I do agree that we don’t need Shaq. Find a way to get McGee in here. We will need another 3 point threat, which means Teague needs to be shooting now thru his dreams.

cp

July 6th, 2010
9:43 am

i would like to see a hawks big elbow dwight in return once in a while….

TimP

July 6th, 2010
9:44 am

There you go again with Horford at the center. We all know Horford puts up good stats as a center, but he is seriously undersized at that position. Horford has no chance against Howard. You still have to go through Orlando in the East and look what Boston did with Perkins. They told him to man up against Howard so everybody can guard the 3-line and by golly look what happen (also look what happened to the Celtics when Perkins went down in game 7 of the finals). The Hawks can’t do that with Horford. The Hawks fouled out their entire bench in the first quarter trying to guard Howard. I’m not saying Shaq is the answering, but the Hawks either need a footer or more girth down in the 5 spot.

Scotty

July 6th, 2010
9:44 am

Cavs had Illgauskas as well and tried to make Shaq a focal point, when for their lineup going “small” and leaving shaq and Z out of the lineup would’ve been the better approach. we do not have any big bodies to stack up against the better centers of the league.

plus, taking the burden off Horford (6′10, 250) to guard guys who have 2-3 inches and 100 lbs on him will only make Al more effective.

Darrin "The Vent King"

July 6th, 2010
9:46 am

As entertaining the “Big Aristotle” has been throughout his career to me, this has disaster written all over it. I know we need a “true” center, but gheesh Shaq is wayyyy past his prime and it would only hamper the rest of the young guns on this team. I just can’t see what he would do for us except collecting his last few NBA checks b4 heading off into the sunset. If those in charge of the Hawk’s organization actually thinks this is a good idea, then I have to just give up on them EVER doing what will be needed to make this team a true contender and this is after a slew of bad ideas already. Let’s see, Isaiah Rider, Jon “Contract”, signing an old Moses Malone, the Dominique Wilkins for Danny “No Knees” Manning trade, the last 4 or 5 1st round draft picks including Sheldon “Two Left Feet”, Williams, signing “Pretty Boy Chemistry Killer” Reggie Theus, the undynamic duo of Billy Knight and Mike Woodson, and couple that with the in fighting of the Atlanta “Killing My” Spirit Group one can not help but start to question their own loyalty to this team considering their history and their future if this Shaq signing is done. This would be yet another inept sign that NBA b-ball in Atlanta is never going to amount to anything unless someone who truly cares AND knows the game buys this team.

Too bad Arthur Blank doesn’t enjoy b-ball as much as football…

Riggodeaux

July 6th, 2010
9:46 am

Bringing in the over-the-hill, 38+ y/o Shaq is certainly consistent with substantially overpaying Joe Johnson. Combine the two, and the Hawks will be lucky to even make the playoffs, much less get past the first round. Casey Stengel had it right, in a different context: Doesn’t anyone here know how to play this game?

Dawglasville

July 6th, 2010
9:48 am

Smells of desperation.

Josh

July 6th, 2010
9:48 am

MB,

I also have to disagree. The Hawks main threat in the East is Dwight Howard and after I have seen Horford try to defend him, we need a true center. Somewhere in all the hoopla of the million articles already out there about Shaq possibly coming to Atlanta, Shaq said he is open to coming of the bench and splitting time with Horford. This is fine with me. And should be for you too. There is the other side of the rumors too. That the Hawks are talking about trading Josh Smith, Marvin Williams and Mike Bibby for an all-star PG. The only way this is good for the Hawks is if its CP3. Than it all works out and Smith does not have to worry about playing the 3. All and All, lets get Shaq. We need him just to match up against Dwight because have you seen Horford match up against Dwight? Its not a pretty picture. In fact, its not a pretty picture for most people guarding Dwight. If we are going to remotely think about getting any farther than the 2nd round, we have to get a true center.

BigE Dawg

July 6th, 2010
9:49 am

ASG is looking to get more fannies in the seats–Shaq would do that. I think he can help “a little” guarding with Howard and other big centers.
But he is not worth the locker room dissention he will cause a 1st year HC.
Shaq will walk all over Drew
Not what this young impressionable team needs

Mark–what other centers are available?

PMC

July 6th, 2010
9:49 am

What if they put horford at Small Foward?

It’s still not going to make the Shaq signing better, but Horford does have a pretty decent jumper when he needs it.

PMC

July 6th, 2010
9:50 am

At least he would be a good quote though, they need some funny in the locker room and they just paid 119 million to a guy who never really says anything.

TONE

July 6th, 2010
9:51 am

leave Horford alone at center get him a decent backup (not shaq) pick up a good defender and lets see what drew can do for you .

PMC

July 6th, 2010
9:51 am

Good teams that are on the rise though don’t typically sign 38 year old washed up players.

Luke Cage

July 6th, 2010
9:52 am

@Mike

I’ve been saying all last season we shoulda gotten McGee while he was just rotting on the wizards bench, but I don’t think thats going to happen now as he will be their starter.

F-105 Thunderchief

July 6th, 2010
9:52 am

Yeah, I lean against this one pretty strongly. We need Teague to be better than Bibby and to have the Wizard of Oz grant Marvin some gumption. Larry Drew is the key here. If he can be what few (me included) think he can, that is what will improve the Hawks.

Joseph Allen McWhorter

July 6th, 2010
9:53 am

My sentiments exactly on this Mark. The Hawks don’t need Shaq right now. He wouldn’t help them that much. Whatever team he plays for next season will almost be pushing him around in a wheelchair. He is overweight and doesn’t have anything left in the tank!

No Shaq

July 6th, 2010
9:53 am

Shaq—a big waste of money and roster spot. He’s over the hill and would just eat time that a better scorer could take.

Say What

July 6th, 2010
9:54 am

Your 66-16 and 61-21 comparison is silly. 1. Basically, they are the same. 2. Who knows what they would have been without Shaq there. Although, I don’t like the gorilla, your facts in number 1 are weak at best.

F-105 Thunderchief

July 6th, 2010
9:54 am

Also, was Zaza not an effective backup two years ago? I, and Kevin Garnett, thought he was. What happened last season?

HawksFan

July 6th, 2010
9:54 am

@TimP

Amen. Horford cant line up against Howard and no one on that bench could either. It was embarrassing.

Luke Cage

July 6th, 2010
9:54 am

What about Josh coming off the bench?

Grumpy

July 6th, 2010
9:54 am

Shaq as a backup, putting up 12 and 7 in 20-25 minutes a night, would not hinder the progress of either Al or Josh. And to point to a decline from 66 to 61 wins as a sign of Shaq hurting a team is the lamest argument I’ve read in a long, long time.

Mark Bradley

July 6th, 2010
9:55 am

Josh coming off the bench would be a disaster, Luke.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mark Bradley, Greg Foster and others. Greg Foster said: Agree – Moses Malone all over again RT @MarkBradleyAJC: Why Shaquille O'Neal to the Atlanta Hawks wouldn't work. http://bit.ly/aIu18G [...]

Tech75

July 6th, 2010
9:55 am

As has been suggested, if they’re thinking of bringing him in, I hope it would be as a role player, to counterbalance the Howards and the Boguts and to spell Horfy and ZaZa occasionally.

No way Shaq is a starter on this team, as has been pointed out, that creates a lot more problems than it solves. But, I have no idea whether he would accept a lesser role, and I agree the coach would have a tough time managing him.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mark Bradley and Barnabas Moyer. Barnabas Moyer said: What's the big idea? Shaq as a Hawk wouldn't work: Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)Two seasons ago his team — t… http://bit.ly/dhn61Z [...]

TimP

July 6th, 2010
9:58 am

What Shaq will do is put more people in the seats. And the O’Neal vs Howard might still be marketable TV wise. Again, I’m not saying Shaq is the answer, but if 5.whatever million dollars gets you more season ticket sales and TV money, is it really that bad of a deal?

Mark Bradley

July 6th, 2010
9:58 am

Howard averaged 21 points and 13.3 rebounds against the Hawks in Round 2. He didn’t beat them by himself. He didn’t even have a 30-point game.

The Hawks got destroyed because they tried to double-team Howard and left themselves open to the Magic shooters.

Luke Cage

July 6th, 2010
9:59 am

Problem in playing the magic is they let the 3 point shooters get rolling, I always say play Dwight straight up 1 on 1, he may get alot of dunks and points but then their 3’s ain’t going, Celts played him straight up with Perk & Sheed with tough physical D and covered their perimiter players and won. But that being said still would like to see a true 5 but not Shaq.

TheAntiMe

July 6th, 2010
10:00 am

I totally agree, Mark, that signing Shaq would be a bad move by Rick Sund. However, I totally disagree with your assertion that Al Horford (and therefore, the Hawks) would not benefit from acquiring a more traditional Center i.e. someone 6′11″ ft. and 250 lbs. or more. As good as Al Horford has performed at Center while giving up height and weight advantages to his counterparts, Horford would absolutely be a beast were teams having to defend him from the Power Forward position.

I also disagree that Josh Smith would fare badly at SF. Your argument sounds good on the surface because all most people remember are the 3-point airballs he has had a penchant for launching during his career. However, truth be told, Josh is an able shooter from 15 to 18 ft. and has been more judicious with his launching of 3-point shots the past season.

I think that you at least have to try acquiring a traditional (large and defensive-minded) NBA Center and moving Horford to PF and Smoove to SF because the status quo has been shown to be inadequate to get the Hawks any further than Round 2. I think that they can be so much more than Round 2.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

July 6th, 2010
10:02 am

I would say trading for Jamison and asking him to be Lebrons side kick in a system that didnt fit him was the reason why Cleveland didnt go further in the Playoffs.

Luke Cage

July 6th, 2010
10:03 am

Just throwin it out there Mark LOL.

Rather have Jermaine than Shaq though, he KNOWS he’s coming off the bench at this stage in his career and won’t be a negative influence, not sayin sign him but if I had to chose between the O’Neals it would be Jermaine.

Josh

July 6th, 2010
10:04 am

@MB
Howard averaged 21 points and 13.3 rebounds against the Hawks in Round 2. He didn’t beat them by himself. He didn’t even have a 30-point game.

The Hawks got destroyed because they tried to double-team Howard and left themselves open to the Magic shooters.

You have made my point exactly. With Shaq guarding Dwight, we no longer have to double team him. Those numbers Dwight put out some dang good numbers for being double-teamed. :)