Shaquille O’Neal doesn’t want Anthony Davis compared to him and other Lakers centers

Peter Dewey
4 Min Read

Los Angeles Lakers legend Shaquille O’Neal doesn’t want to be compared to current Lakers star Anthony Davis.

O’Neal proclaimed in a recent interview that Davis is not a big man when asked about how he compares to others Lakers bigs such as Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum since O’Neal played for the team.

“First note, let’s not get it twisted, Anthony Davis is not a big man, he’s a power forward,” O’Neal said. “So let’s just let’s put combined big man and power forward, we can have this argument all day, every day. He’s playing great. Not being critical of him, I’m giving him the same information that Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar] gave me.”

It’s interesting that O’Neal doesn’t consider Davis a center, because he has played a lot of the position this season and even in the 2021-22 campaign.

According to Basketball Reference, Davis played 76 percent of his minutes at the center position last season. That number has skyrocketed this season, as the Lakers star has played 100 percent of his minutes at center.

Davis has been terrific for Los Angeles this season. The eight-time All-Star is averaging 27.7 points, 12.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.2 blocks per game. He’s shooting 59.6 percent from the field, and he’s improved from beyond the arc, shooting 31.0 percent through his first 23 games.

O’Neal did give Davis some praise, but he explained that the expectations are higher for the Lakers star going forward.

“It was one point in his career, I think he was with in New Orleans, we were saying that in two years he’s going to be the best player in the league,” O’Neal said. “He’s had a lot of injuries. But look, they’re playing well. Well, he went to L.A. the first year, did what he supposed to do. They won a championship, a bubble championship. And when you live in L.A., that’s what we expect. We expect championship.”

Injuries have slowed Davis down in his time with the Lakers, but he came up with clutch plays all throughout the Lakers run in the NBA’s Orlando, Fla. bubble.

Lakers fans can’t forget Davis’ game-winning shot in the Western Conference Finals that helped the team defeat the Denver Nuggets in five games.

O’Neal clearly holds Davis to a high standard, but it’s a good thing since it should motivate the former No. 1 overall pick to reach his full potential.

Davis appeared in just 76 games in the 2020-21 campaign and 2021-22 season combined due to several nagging injuries. The Lakers missed the playoffs last year because he and LeBron James both missed a ton of time.

Despite that, Davis has shaken off the critics that have called him injury-prone and is having one of the best seasons of his career in the 2022-23 campaign.

The Lakers still have some work to do if they want to be a playoff team and NBA Finals contenders, as they are currently 11-15 and hold the No. 12 spot in the Western Conference.

Davis and company will get a chance to improve upon that on Tuesday night when they take on the Eastern Conference-leading Boston Celtics in Los Angeles.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.