Friday , Mar , 04 , 2011 Paul Eide

Say It Ain’t So, Shaq

You can’t be done, can you? You’re the guy from the “Fu-Shnickens” video! You’re the guy from Kazaam! I saw you take on Mother Nature on “Shaq Vs.” and you submitted her via arm bar in the first round! What happened to that guy??

Maybe I’m the only one, and even though he’s getting older by the millisecond, I think Shaq can still be used in a productive way. I’m not asking him to run the floor in transition, or at all. I’m not expecting 40+ minutes, but how about 25? I’m not even asking for the 30 minutes a night he gave the Suns two years ago (even though it seems like 10) or the 17.8 ppg, 8.4 rpg and 1.4 bpg that he produced in those minutes.

 
The “Inflamed Achilles” injury he sustained a month ago doesn’t help the perception that it’s over, but the 9.3 ppg, 4.9 rpg and 1.2 bpg that he’s averaging this season in 20.7 mpg means if you got up to 23.4 you could average the 12 ppg, 6.7, 1.2 bg you averaged a year ago in Cleveland, right? Come on Shaq, give me something to believe in!
 
Even though Shaq’s missed a month and may miss another week or two, Danny Ainge still has faith, just like me.
 
“We have every reason to believe and continue to believe that Shaq will be healthy,” said Ainge on Tuesday. Ainge is so confident, that he told Shaq to stay home and rehab rather than join the team on their current road trip.
 
So if you can’t believe Danny Ainge, who can you believe? I think if for no other reason Shaq will produce because the Celtics need him to do something, especially with the announcement of Glen “Big Baby” Davis’ strained patellar tendon coming today. As soon as he’s healthy, the C’s will throw him back in there because what do they have to lose? He certainly won’t be in Boston next year. Unless he impresses the “you know what” out of Ainge over the final 20 remaining games and playoffs. Shaq is going to play a critical role for the C’s here on out once he gets healthy. A big body like that can stop the D. Howards of the world, if only temporarily, and score ten, grab five rebounds and block a couple shots just by standing there.
 
Actually, all this reminds me of his final season with the Heat when he got traded to the Suns after 33 games where everyone was so sure he was “done”. Instead he came back the next year and put up his highest mpg, ppg and bpg since 05-06 and also led the NBA in field goal percentage (.609).
 
But in the words of Shaq himself, "No one roots for Goliath." If Shaq can get the Achilles back to 100% or even 80%, he can still have a big impact on the future of the Celtics and how far they get in the playoffs.

(Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dgaproductions/5092608744/)