Shaquille O’Neal has long faced backlash from current NBA stars for his analysis as a commentator on TNT’s Inside the NBA. The former Hall-of-Famer has shown he isn’t afraid to critique the way modern basketball is played or the league’s players if he thinks the situation calls for it.
But, on Tuesday night, Shaq caught some serious flack from one of his co-hosts: WNBA legend Candace Parker.
Parker, who currently plays for the Chicago Sky, got into a passionate discussion with O’Neal about the way that modern NBA teams play pick-and-roll defense. While Shaq lamented the fact that defenders are too willing to switch on pick-and-rolls, Parker explained that without switching, three-point shooters would have a field day.
O’Neal continued the conversation by saying that teams need to “man up” and pre-rotate in order to slow down three-point attempts. However, Parker retorted, and got an assist from the third analyst on set, Dwayne Wade. The two went back at Shaq by acknowledging that with shooting as good as it is in today’s NBA, stopping a well-run pick-and-roll requires switching at the point of the screen.
The conversation broke out after a game between the Nuggets and the Milwaukee Bucks, that saw Denver center Nikola Jokic torch his opponents out of pick-and-rolls sets. The MVP candidate scored 37 points on 15-of-23 from the floor and dished out 11 assists en route to his team’s 128-97 blowout win.
NBA fans were impressed at Parker’s argument and her willingness to challenge Shaq on Tuesday night. Of course, the 34-year-old WNBA vet has plenty of her own experience on the court, having won a championship and two MVP awards over the course of her 13-year career.
Candace Parker teaching Shaq about the basic tenets of a pick and roll is an energy I need bottled and sold, please.
— priyadesai (@priyadesai) March 3, 2021
— DWade (@DwyaneWade) March 3, 2021
"That Tennessee math!"
— Lady Vol Basketball (@LadyVol_Hoops) March 3, 2021
Parker has burst onto the media scene in a huge way over the last few years, setting herself up nicely for a post-basketball career. However, after having won the WNBA Defensive Player of the Year award in 2020, the 34-year-old still has some good days ahead of her on the court.