NBA star turned-analyst Gilbert Arenas gives the edge to Shaquille O’Neal in a comparison against Nikola Jokic. The Denver Nuggets big man can be on his way to winning the NBA MVP this season. He has been on fire since last season as he guided his team to the elusive NBA Championship.
Jokic has started the season with some exceptional stats as he is averaging 29.8 points, 13.7 rebounds, 8.3 assists and 1.0 steals per game. With Jokic in form, the Nuggets look like a team that can defend their NBA title this season.
On Gil’s Arena podcast, the crew of Arenas, Josiah Johnson, Kenyon Martin and Rashad McCants discussed the best big man in NBA history. Wilt Chamberlain and Shaquille O’Neal are the ones who are synonymous with dominance but Jokic is now gradually making headlines with his exceptional play.
While the others discussed all the possibilities, Arenas was not taking any slander for Shaq. He explained why the former LA Lakers legend over ‘The Joker’.
“You have to give it to the dude that they had to change rules for,” Arenas said. “When you’re talking about making a claim, they had to make a rule. … It was to stop someone because they couldn’t stop him, right? You had to trap. You had to go down and double.”
Arenas mentioned repeatedly mentioned how one must not take Shaquille O’Neal’s achievements lightly. He has won four NBA titles and was a major force to be reckoned with. His size made him a very dominant big man. O’Neal also had great athleticism to pair up with his stature.
While Arenas has backed Shaq in this debate, he also praised Jokic for developing his style of play and how he dominates the court differently. He highlighted Jokic’s passing, which majorly affects how defences go after him and results in openings for the other players. He feels that Jokic may not bring in the muscle like Shaq but he has the basketball IQ which sets him apart from the rest.
After Game 1 of the NBA finals last season, Shaq included Jokic in his famous Big Man Alliance as he was very much impressed with the Serbian superstar’s performance. Shaq firmly believes that he will be joining the likes of Chamberlain, Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Hakeem Olajuwon.
“Very, very, very, impressive to watch. … I give it up to you (Jokic), big man, great game. And you know what? You are now a member of the Big Man Alliance,” Shaq said after his performance in Game 1 of the finals last season.