In a move that should surprise absolutely nobody, Shaquille O’Neal will likely join the first unit in the Celtics’ season opener. He would get the starting nod instead of Jermaine O’Neal, whose body didn’t allow him a proper preseason. (WEEI)
“They’re both playing well,” Doc Rivers said after practice Saturday. “J.O. has just missed so much time that he’s so far behind, but he’s getting it. You can tell.” Both players have inisisted that they don’t care who starts, but Rivers like the competition.
“They’re both going for it,” Rivers said. “At the end of the day when you decide, they’ll be able to live with it. They’re going after each other. I love it. It’s good for practice.”
As a natural flip-flopper, I initially thought J.O. should start and Shaq should come off the bench. But Shaq — for lack of a better description in my limited vocabulary — just fits. He has quickly changed my mind. He plays well with the first five, has developed a quick chemistry with Rajon Rondo, and even hedged a pick-and-roll once or twice this preseason. Really, he did. I’m not even kidding.
If preseason is any indication, Shaq is the NBA’s best bargain. In a league in which Darko Milicic can be called a manna from heaven and receive a $20 million contract, paying Shaq the veteran’s minimum is like paying two dollars for a Ruth’s Chris steak.