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“Anthony Edwards is a Bad Boy”: Shaquille O’Neal Makes Kevin Durant’s life Difficult With Suns vs Timberwolves Claim

Published 04/20/2024, 9:00 AM EDT

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The matchups for the first round of the playoffs are official. That means it’s time for the Inside Guys to make their predictions. Shaquille O’Neal’s choices are a little bold to digest. In the West, he picked the Minnesota Timberwolves over the Phoenix Suns. It’s not an outlandish take at all, especially considering that they are the 3rd seed this year. But the Suns have 2x Finals MVP Kevin Durant, who surpassed Shaq in the All-time leading scorers list recently. What would make Shaq underestimate KD? The answer is on the opposing team.

“Anthony Edwards is a bad boy,” Shaq said like it was self-explanatory. When Charles Barkley said that’s not clear, Shaq doubled down with the same statement. Interestingly, the votes were split between the Inside Guys as Barkley and Ernie picked Phoenix to advance while Shaq and Kenny chose the Timberwolves. O’Neal has been singing Edwards’ praises for quite some time now.

On The Big Podcast a few weeks ago, Adam Lefkoe asked O’Neal which youngster in the league he’d like to team up with. Without beating around the bush, Shaq answered AntMan, because “He’s a dog.” O’Neal teaming up with a young, hungry guard? After winning championships with star guards Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade in his career, O’Neal possibly sees the same mentality in Edwards.

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That’s translation for Anthony Edwards averaging 25.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, 5.1 assists, and 1.3 steals this season. He upset the crowded MVP race and led the Wolves to the third seed in the West. On the podcast, Shaq explained there’s more to him than the numbers present. “The way he plays, he plays the right way. He plays hard and he plays with that tenacity.”

While O’Neal has been critical of most of the younger generation stars, Edwards is an exception. And his accolades in a young NBA career speak volumes about his impact. At 22 years of age, AntMan is already a 2x All-Star and is set to earn his first All-NBA Selection this year. Moreover, he has helped push a struggling Timberwolves franchise to championship contention. Minnesota had a 56-26 record this season, their best since 2003-04 when they reached the Conference Finals on the back of legend Kevin Garnett.

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It’ll be interesting to see how far Edwards can take his team in the postseason. The Wolves will host the #6 seed Suns on Saturday. Shaq’s rooting for the Wolves to win. But his predictions haven’t been spot-on so far.

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Shaquille O’Neal is not as prophetic as he thinks

O’Neal believed the Warriors had better chances over the Lakers but ate his words when the Dubs were eliminated from the play-ins. He bet his car on Chuck’s 76ers losing to his Miami and may have to give up his car. He didn’t have much hope for the Pelicans without Zion Williamson. But they proved him wrong too.

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The one who could upset his prediction for the first round of the playoffs in the West is Kevin Durant. A month ago, KD surpassed O’Neal for the eighth spot on the NBA’s all-time scoring list with 28,610 points to Shaq’s 28, 596. Shaq kept it classy while congratulating him and said, “If anybody was going to pass me, it was definitely going to be you.” But this is still Shaq.Let’s see if you can get to No.1,” he challenged KD.

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He could’ve lit a fire under Durant to make him eat his words this way. Nobody on the Wolves roster comes close to KD’s 22 post-season series wins in a stacked career. And with a lot hinging on his partnership with Devin Booker and Bradley Beal, the Wolves have a tough task on their hands. Do you think Shaq is right for once?

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Written by:

Caroline John

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Caroline John is a senior NBA writer at EssentiallySports. She holds a Masters degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from a reputed university. With 8 years of experience in content writing and after judiciously covering the life of Shaquille O’Neal, she even earned an exclusive interview with the CEO of Shaq’s Big Chicken franchise, Josh Halpern.
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Edited by:

Pragya Vashisth