Shaquille O’Neal picks Dallas Mavericks to win this season’s NBA championship

Jason Simpson
3 Min Read
Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Shaquille O’Neal may be a Los Angeles Lakers legend, but it doesn’t seem like he has faith that his former team will win this season’s NBA title.

When asked to pick a champion for the upcoming season, O’Neal gave a surprising response: the Dallas Mavericks.

The Mavericks have some question marks going into the new season, particularly regarding their backcourt duo of Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving.

The pairing was unsuccessful last season after Irving joined the Mavs ahead of the trade deadline. Dallas had a 5-11 record when Irving and Doncic played together, leading to a 38-44 finish for the squad. The Mavs missed the postseason.

Dallas is certainly hoping that its star backcourt will produce different results this coming season. Irving re-signed with the Mavs over the summer, giving him an offseason to get on the same page with Doncic and perhaps build some chemistry.

If the two star guards can make things work on the court, they may indeed turn the Mavs into threats to do some damage.

The Lakers, meanwhile, may need to use O’Neal’s prediction as bulletin board material. Los Angeles is seen by many as a legitimate contender this coming season, especially since the squad made the 2023 Western Conference Finals before adding some key pieces this offseason.

O’Neal’s prediction would require the Lakers to win no more than two playoff series, as he doesn’t believe they’re going to win the Western Conference Finals or NBA Finals. A season like that would likely be seen as a disappointment by many folks in Los Angeles.

New additions like Gabe Vincent, Christian Wood, Jaxson Hayes and others have perhaps raised L.A.’s ceiling going into the 2023-24 season, and there’s also room for growth from some of the squad’s returning players. The Lakers will get their season started in less than a week against the Denver Nuggets on the road.

Los Angeles and Dallas will meet a few times during the regular season, with their first matchup coming on Nov. 22. The head-to-head battles should give folks a better idea of where the two teams stand in relation to each other.

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Jason is excited about the LeBron James era of Lakers basketball and hopes that the end result will be multiple championships.