Shaquille O’Neal Disrespects Chris Paul’s Suns: “Phoenix Is Like Utah to Me. Got a Lot of Good Players, but Some of Those Players Can Be Punked”

Published 02/05/2022, 4:59 PM EST
Jan 28, 2022; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) reacts against the Minnesota Timberwolves in the first half at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Paul is undoubtedly one of the most respected and exceptional point guards in the NBA. However, he does not have an NBA Championship ring. This often becomes a factor in the amount of credit he gets for what he does on the floor. Last season, he almost single-handedly led the Suns to the NBA Finals.

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Nevertheless, since he did not win, the discussion always boils down to determining if he has what it takes to go all the way. That is one reason NBA legends like Shaquille O’Neal don’t see him as a championship-caliber threat.

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And while that is a flawed criterion of deciding a player’s impact on NBA history, it surely impacts the amount of respect that is attached to a name. Former players like Steve Nash, John Stockton, and Karl Malone will always go down in history as NBA legends. Despite not having a championship ring.

Shaquille O’Neal drops truth bombs on Chris Paul’s Phoenix Suns

In his latest release of the Big Podcast, Shaquille O’Neal shares his opinion on whether the Phoenix Suns are genuine championship contenders. In his opinion, they’re like the Utah Jazz.

Historically, despite having dominant players on the team, the league was never intimidated by the Jazz. Earlier it was Malone and Stockton and now it’s Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert. They’ve notably always focused on the development of a key duo.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – OCTOBER 23: Former NBA player Shaquille O’Neal attends the unveiling of the Shaq Courts at the Doolittle Complex donated by Icy Hot and the Shaquille O’Neal Foundation in partnership with the city of Las Vegas on October 23, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images for Icy Hot)

Moreover, similar to the Suns, even the Jazz have led the Western Conference Standings a few times, only to get eliminated in the Playoffs. Therefore, keeping that history in mind, O’Neal said, “They ain’t got nobody that scares you”. Further, he said, “Listen, Phoenix is like Utah to me. Got a lot of good players, but some of those players can be punked now, Michelle, I’m just saying.”

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What does this mean for Chris Paul, Devin Booker, and the Phoenix Suns?

The Suns are currently leading the Western Conference as we head into the All-Star break soon. Booker and Paul have both been named All-Star reserves ahead of the highly anticipated All-Star Draft.

Feb 3, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) shoots over Atlanta Hawks forward De’Andre Hunter (12) during the first half at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Shaq may be right about the fact that the Suns do not have an individual player who intimidates their opponents. This also means their performance is a team effort instead of a one-man show. However, Shaq may be flawed in concluding that this team cannot win it all. Do you agree with Shaquille O’Neal? Let us know what you think about it.

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Chaitanya Dadhwal

506 articles

Chaitanya Dadhwal is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Even though his journalism is driven by his desire to understand both sides of an argument and give a neutral perspective, he is biased towards Houston Rockets and Arsenal, and he has shown exactly how loyal he can be through tough times. Currently a Law student at Jindal Global Law School, he aims to have his own sports management firm one day and enjoys rap music during his time off.

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