(Is that Shaq-cHale O’Neal?)
Rich Steinlauf, an analyst who has been studying the NBA for three decades, devised a player-ranking model that puts a monetary value on each player in the NBA. Based on his system, a combination of statistics and Steinlauf’s careful observation of players’ games, Shaq was the third-best bargain this offseason. (Sports Illustrated)
3. Shaquille O’Neal. The Celtics will pay a veteran’s minimum of $1.4 million for a future Hall of Famer who can be expected to play like a $5.5 million player. “I had him as the second-best player for Cleveland in the Boston series last year,” Steinlauf said. “When you’re the second-leading scorer for your team in one of the marquee playoff series, you’re probably a pretty good player.”
It’d be great if Shaq turns out to be such a bargain, but the two biggest bargains belonged to the Heat (Lebron and D-Wade, duh) and the fourth-best belonged to the Lakers (Matt Barnes).
And is Shaq really worth $5.5 million? Umm, not if you ask Yahoo’s Kelly Dwyer: “O’Neal, at this point, is probably better off working as an entertainer of sorts than someone who should be hedging on Jr. on some random Wednesday in January.
“You saw those games last year. Shaq didn’t really look that bad. He looked like … Shaq. Big guy, one move, two pivots, two hands. To the naked eye, O’Neal looked like a late-30s version of himself. He looked like what you would expect.
“It’s just that all these raw stats tell you that the Cavs were so, so much better with O’Neal on the pine.”
And so the great Shaq debate continues. He’ll either single-handedly destroy the Celtics or he’ll be the third-best bargain in the NBA.