NBA / Dec 4, 2008 / 5:55 pm

Shaq: Go ahead and run, I’ll be fine

ShaqShaquille O’Neal (photo. Chenoa Maxwell)

It’s not just the fans of fast-break basketball who have complained about the Phoenix Suns’ change of pace this season. From Amare to Steve Nash, the Suns themselves are somewhere between wistful reminiscing and outright pining for the D’Antoni days.

Popular sentiment has been that even more than new coach Terry Porter, Shaq is the main one to blame for the new, slow-it-down Suns. After losing their third straight game to the Hornets last night (without Shaq or Nash in the lineup), Phoenix goes into tonight’s game against the Mavs at 11-8. If Porter is in fact thinking of taking things back to last year, Shaq tells the Arizona Republic that’s fine by him:

“If we’re going to run, we should stop talking about it and just do it,” O’Neal said. “We don’t need coach’s permission to get a rebound and run. I’m going to be the one igniting the break because I’m getting most of the rebounds. It doesn’t matter to me. I can play any style.”

O’Neal apparently has heard the grousing internally and from fans about the Suns’ offense being predicated more on O’Neal post-ups this season.

“I’m only getting five shots a game, so it can’t be like they’re throwing to me every time,” said O’Neal, who actually is averaging 9.8 shots per game but took six in Sunday’s game. “I’m not the go-to guy. I’m programmed to play any style. It doesn’t matter.”

In Shaq’s post-trade Phoenix press conference last year, he said he was down to be a part of the run-and-gun — that he looked forward to getting boards and igniting the break, as well as getting up and down the court himself. Even when he does break out his exaggerated “running hard” act, the fans eat it up, plus Diesel can actually still beat a lot of centers in a sprint.

Can 36-year-old Shaq hang if the Suns start running again?

Source: Arizona Republic

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  • Sam I Am

    No

  • Kobe

    No

  • JCARR

    No, but its for the betterment of the team. Sometimes you have to sacrifice to be great. Shaq dominant days are over… Porter should use shaq for the first one and half quaters. Afterwards just “RUN like hell” (pink floyd)… I hope these are shaq’s sincere words. If they run STAT will play like MVP, nash will average more assists. The only con to their running is the defense.

  • vinny

    no

  • chronically_ill

    Not if they want to keep Shaq fresh for the playoffs

  • John

    I agree with Shaq, the problem is that Joe Johnson, Quentin Richardson, Shawn Marion , Amare Knees, Nash Legs, Boris Wheight and D’Antoni are not in Phoenix anymore … So now they blame Shaq ?

  • rudderband man

    Don’t underestimate Shaq’s incredible willpower when he’s out to prove something. If it helps him prove a point he’ll do cartwheels up and down the court for 4 quarters.

  • Rodney Rogers

    No mention of me today in dime? brutal.

  • Kermit The Washington

    It’s gonna be so funny if the Suns don’t make the playoffs…Shaq’s old “The season doesn’t start till the playoffs” thing is gonna backfire soon

  • Richard Wellner

    “…I’m programmed to slam in the summer spring or fall, pushin up spitballs through plastic straws..”

  • doug

    The suns are done, running fast or slowing it down stick a fork in them, Lakers own those cats, karma is a you know what and nash needs to give one of those MVP trophies to KoBe that he was robbed of because of crap media being on that old whose the best team player in the L. If that were the case John Stockton should have a couple of MJ’s MVP trophies, it’s never been about that and all that stuff is catching up to these cats. Nash is the only cat to win that award twice and never take his team to a finals or win a championship.

  • vinny

    you know doug as hard as this is for me to say- i agree with you(maybe not kobe winning)

  • banga

    The problem is the game “slows down” in the playoffs. Which i think is a load of bullshit.

    The games slows down because no player wants to be rememebered as that guy that lost a series for them. They’re more worried about making mistakes than sticking with what they do right.

    The signs have no identity. They need to decide, yes they wan to run, or no they wan tto play a halfcourt style of offense.

    If they choose halfcourt, than they need to trade barbosa and diaw and get players that can actually create their own shots in this offense.

    you can’t go to war with runners if you want to play a slow down system. Colangelo built this team to run ang gun. Not play slow.

    Kerr needs to get busy and get player that can play in a more traditional halfcourt offense.

  • banga

    the suns have no identity**********

  • northern lights

    run and done… suns are one season away from total reconstructive surgery and at this pace, might be hard pressed to make the playoffs this year. What are the chances the suns strike a deal, and what are the chances it involves a 2 time MVP?

  • Ken322

    Correction: The Suns have lost to the Hornets six straight times now; the Hornets swept them in all 4 games last season.

  • http://dimemag.com Austin Burton

    @Ken — I meant last night’s loss was Phoenix’s 3rd in a row this season, not 3rd in a row to the Hornets. My bad for the confusing wording.

  • http://dimemag.com Austin Burton

    BTW, Dallas is digging in Phoenix’s a$$ right now.

  • GoEasy

    @ Dimemag

    I don’t know if I just never seen it before or what, but if you haven’t seen the TNT – OT extra on nba.com its amazing. It’s streaming the Dallas phoenix game right now, and you can choose from a ton of different angles. You can have a split screen and watch 4 angles at once, or just follow one player, and a bunch others. It’s incredible.

  • A,R.

    If the Suns start running now Shaq will be out of each game by the second quarter. No way can his lard ass make it up and down the court the way the Suns used to do it.

  • weng santos

    C’mon, the Suns can’t blame Shaq if they’re not running.

    There’s 4 other guys on the court; are you telling me you need all 5 guys to spring down for fastbreaks? Nash, 2 wing finishers/corner shooters, and a trailing Amare is more than enough to run a good fastbreak and secondary break.

    Do you see Shaq outlet the ball and then signal Nash to hold-up? Yeah, I didn’t think so. 5 guys on a break is overkill. Let Shaq hang back and play safety just in case the others mess up the break.

  • bballinca

    They should put a donut on the back of Nash’s jersey and you’ll see how fast Snaq gets up and down the court.

  • Kobe

    Nah

  • ¢

    fuck outta here

  • Trevor Arreza

    How about play some D suns? Players are lighting you all up.

  • doc

    Nash is just washed up but hes in denial and wants to blame Shaq.

  • bookkwormmaster@yahoo.com

    bballinca says:

    They should put a donut on the back of Nash’s jersey and you’ll see how fast Snaq gets up and down the court.

    LMAO!!

    I find it funny how Steve Nash & Amare ENDORSED the trade for Shaq (damn near campaigning for it) and fans as well (EXPLODING when he flashed his championship ring) and now players wanna take suttle shots at him and fans are blaming him for the Suns switching to a half-court offense. Shaq is NOT to blame for the Suns slow start. If anybody is to blame it’s a) Terry Porter changing the offense to suit Shaq when he said and I quote “Don’t adjust to me, I’ll adjust to you”, b) the team’s lack of solid defense, c) Nash and Amare’s (still) lack of defense (I call them out in particular bc they are the team’s 2 best players), and d) the fact that the Suns just aren’t that good. Pretty much all of their best players (or at least the ones they play) with the exception of Amare, Barbosa, and Diaw are old and not quite as effective as they used to be. Amare talks about wanting to be THE SIGNATURE GUY but has yet to really show that he can be effective for the team in that role (again his lack of defense for a guy of his talent and athleticism is, to put it nicely, just shameful). I think another facet about the Suns that gets overlooked is how AWFUL their bench is. Diaw is probably their most talented and well-rounded plauer (Amare really is but he is a close second) and his contributions to the team are basically nonexistent. He is and should be playing WAY better than what he brings to the table. He suffers from the same thing that guys like Vince Carter and Rasheed Wallace are so often criticized for: boatloads of talent physically but mentally incapable of putting it all together (i am fan of both of those guys by the way and no I’m not a North Carolina fan I’m a Hawks diehard). However the biggest difference between Diaw and Carter/Wallace is the latter two are more looked upon in the public as guys he should lead and dominate for their respective teams while the former doesn’t have to feel or deal with the pressure of being that guy for his team, which is all the more reason for him to do so. And it should also be noted that the team’s lack of a bench rests in the hands of upper management. This team would could/should/would have been the DEEPEST TEAM IN THE LEAGUE what with all the picks and players that they traded away (guys like Rajon Rondo, Luol Deng, Rudy Fernandez come to mind and some other good players that escape my mental). Like another poster on here said “stick a fork in them, they’re done”

  • dc

    No, not for 35-40 minutes per night. But he doesn’t need to. They just need him to be effective when he’s on the floor. Let them run w/ Shaq until he starts getting fatigued then put in Lopez. Lopez doesn’t need to be a scorer. He just needs to be a rebounder and an opportunist. Don’t speak about it, be about it!! lol

  • QQ

    No. He’s a dinosaur. Scratch that, he’s a dinosaur fossil. Fossil’s can’t run.

  • MSkittle

    Good call, Rodney. Your story isn’t getting enough publicity. Forget Steph and Plaxico for a minute!

  • Joe

    the Big Fat Azz sucks