“This is a great team. The best team I’ve been on. They’ve got a lot of weapons on this team, so on any given night anybody can be the leading scorer. The team’s very unselfish, so the shots are going to drop off and they easily could have shot them and did that but…great game. Great team effort. And now we’ve just got to keep it going.” -Shaquille O’Neal on the 2010 Celtics
On the day before Thanksgiving, the old time Shaq showed up and laid a spanking on the New Jersey Nets.
Shaquille O’Neal, C
Now rather than wonder how this happened and marvel at Shaqzilla’s early season resurgence while asking if anyone got a liscence number on that Tardis, we are going to focus on the quote above where Shaq states that this Celtics team is the best he’s ever player with. As you can tell this intrigued me. The first gut reaction is that he’s got to be way off base, right? Shaq played for multiple championship teams. He’s has to be off his rocker.
You know by now that it’s not going to be quite that simple and when we go to the math we shall see he’s not really that far off.
For the math in this post, as always, consult the Basics . Let’s start then with the WP48 for every one of Shaq’s teams:
This current edition of the Celtics shows up behind three of the Laker teams (2 champs and one not) as the fourth best of Shaq’s teams (so far). However this looks at the team from the outside perspective and not Shaq’s. Let’s take a look at the WP48 of Shaq’s teammates:
By this analysis, the 2011 Celtics (so far, remember injuries) are the second best set of teammates Shaq has had in his time in the league, trailing just last year’s Cavs. But again, it’s not quite that simple. I’ve talked before about the changing quality of basketball in the NBA . To summarize:
The quality of basketball now is better than for the bulk of Shaq’s tenure in the NBA as Big man in League. So if we take it to raw productivity adjusted to 180 possessions per game:
This Celtics team is only 1oth in total productivity but 2nd in teammate productivity. So from the perspective of Shaq this is one of the best team’s he’s played with (just not as good as last year’s Cavs). I wonder where it all went wrong for that team?