On the upcoming return of the NBA round table show “Open Court,” Shaq was asked who he thought the best center in the league was. He picked Andrew Bynum which most would disagree with but not be surprised since Shaq has said for years that he would take Andrew over his favorite player to criticize – Dwight Howard. What might be a surprise is that he would also pick “Robin Lopez” but mean to say Brook Lopez.
“We as players, we always watch people before us. When I came in it was Patrick Ewing and Hakeem Olajuwon, guys who played like true centers who played inside. What we have now are centers that are going to the European style, which is a lot of pick-and-roll. 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.”
“Listen to what I’m saying. I’m not talking about dunking, 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. Like if you want to go to go to flash and dunking and the pick and roll, you gotta go with Dwight Howard. But me, the last true original don dada, I’m going with Andrew Bynum and which Lopez? Brook. Brook Lopez.”
Having drafted Brook Lopez a few times in fantasy basketball, I can fully appreciate Brook’s skills but as a fantasy GM that would gladly pick Dwight Howard in the top 3, i’m going to agree with the majority of the world that would take Shaq2.0 over Brook and Bynum. The only person that doesn’t seem to have an issue with Shaq’s pick is biased Nets coach Avery Johnson.
“I think it’s great (that Shaq ranked Lopez so high),” Avery Johnson said. “Brook is a skilled center. There are very few centers that can do what he can do on the floor, especially offensively. He can pass, he can score inside, he has a good jump shot, he finishes inside, he runs the break.
“I think for Brook to take that next step is to be more of a defensive presence in the paint, increase his rebound attempt percentage. Hard foul when he needs to foul. At the end of the games when we go to him, especially mismatches, get us buckets, if not make the correct pass. …I understand what Shaq is saying. Brook is a very talented player. We’re hoping it’s all going to come together this year.”
When Dwight was asked about the latest round of Shaq insults he gave a great answer stating how little importance Shaq has on him.
“I don’t care what Shaq says. Shaq played the game; he’s done. He’s done. It’s time to move on. He hated the fact that when he played, the older guys were talking about him and how he played. And now he’s doing the exact same thing. Just let it go. There’s no sense for him to be talking trash to me. He did his thing in the league. He was one of the most dominant players to ever play the game. Sit back and relax. You did yours. Your time is up. So I don’t really care. He can say whatever he wants to say.”
(Will you ever get on the same page with Shaq?) “What do we need to be on the same page for? … I have respect for him and what he did for basketball. That’s it. Like I said, he has already did his thing. He played. When my time is up, there’s going to be somebody else who can do everything I can do and probably do it better. Instead of me talking about him, I’ll do my job to try to help him get to where I’m at. I think that’s what guys who have done it before us should do.