|If the Nets are going to live up to the offseason hype bestowed on them, Brook Lopez has to become the all-around star center Shaq thinks he can be|
Shaquille O'Neal, during his storied and ridiculously successful NBA career, established himself as the elite center in the league and cemented his status of one of the best big men in league history. So when Shaq heaps praise on any current player — especially a fellow big man like the Big Aristotle himself — it means a lot, and probably is justified in some way.
Brook Lopez, starting center on the revamped Brooklyn Nets, was the recent subject of some 'Shaq-liments' as Shaq said that he thinks Lopez is the best big in the entire league right now.
He acknowledged — through some NSFW language — Brook needs to improve his rebounding much more, but said it was not a huge priority for the Stanford grad as fellow front-court players like Reggie Evans and Kevin Garnett can take care much of the rebounding load for Jason Kidd's squad.
From NetsDaily.com: On the criticism that Lopez isn't a very good rebounder, Shaq said, "I didn't rebound well, and nobody gave a fu*k"….To Shaq's point, he added that a rebounding power forward like [Reggie] Evans and, this year, Kevin Garnett, allows Lopez to be a truly dominant scorer…"
Further on in the story (based on comments made at an Inside the NBA luncheon), Shaq said he thinks Brooklyn can compete intensely with the Heat in the Eastern Conference as the Nets attempt to become a powerhouse team that is downright feared by others.
The New Jersey native who won four NBA championships also mentioned how impressed he was with the Nets' starting lineup (more NSFW language).
Also from NetsDaily.com: "When you look at that starting five," he [Shaq] said of the Nets. "I was thinking about that the other day–Deron Williams, Joe [Johnson], Paul [Pierce], Garnett, Lopez–holy sh*t, that's nice."
Clearly, Shaq could not come up with more kid-friendly terms to characterize his feelings about Brooklyn's roster and its chances as a contender this season.
If Shaq is (nearly) at a loss for words, then maybe the Nets are a team to watch out for and not just one to note for its many All-Stars and future Hall-of-Famers. Brooklyn has a legitimate shot as the Bulls or Pacers to dethrone the Heat in the East, and certainly has the talent and players to pull such a measure off.