Shaquille O’Neal guarantees Lakers will make changes if they lose to Nuggets

Jonathan Sherman
3 Min Read
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers have already fallen behind 0-2 in their playoff series against the defending champion Denver Nuggets, and Lakers legend Shaquille O’Neal issued a strong message regarding what the team will do if it doesn’t come out of the series victorious.

O’Neal spoke about the team’s current predicament on a recent episode of his podcast and guaranteed that changes will be made if L.A. loses.

The four-time NBA champion offered the prediction after he was asked about Lakers head coach Darvin Ham’s future with the team.

“I don’t like talking about coaches,” he said when asked if he thinks Ham will be with the Lakers long term. “No, I don’t have any idea. However, if the Lakers lose, changes will be made. I know that for a fact.”

He continued by reminding listeners that the Lakers expect nothing less than excellence.

“That’s just the way they operate,” he said. “That’s a storied franchise, historical franchise. We’re used to winning. We’re all about winning. Ever since that bubble championship, it’s gone up and down, so changes will definitely be made.”

Lakers fans will remember that the team’s surprise playoff run to the Western Conference Finals last season ended against the Nuggets. The Lakers were competitive in every game of that series, but ended up losing in a 4-0 sweep.

That trend appears to be continuing into this year’s series between the two teams. The Lakers led in both Game 1 and Game 2, but ultimately lost both contests.

Game 2 ended in heartbreaking fashion. After being up double digits for much of the game, the Lakers allowed the defending champs to claw back in the second half. An epic buzzer-beating shot by Nuggets guard Jamal Murray gave his team the 101-99 victory.

Now, the series heads back to Los Angeles for the third and fourth games. If LeBron James and company have any hope of winning the series, they are going to have to win at least one of the two upcoming contests. Going 2-0 in the next two games is surely the goal for L.A.

If the Lakers do end up losing in their first-round series, it will be disappointing but not a shock. The Nuggets were one of the best teams all season and seem primed to repeat as champs. As for the Lakers, they sputtered through much of the regular season and had to get a win in the play-in tournament before earning their spot in the playoff bracket.

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Jonathan is a freelance writer, filmmaker, and passionate fan of the NBA. In the past Jonathan has covered politics, entertainment, travel, and more. He is a proud contributor of Lakers Daily.