“Shaqstrodamus” Picks the Mavs

June 5, 2024

Got your popcorn? Got your beverage? The NBA Finals kick off (as of this posting) tomorrow night! Who ya got? It’s the Dallas Mavericks vs. the Boston Celtics for the big prize, and our man Shaq is taking the Mavs. 

That’s a pretty big deal, isn’t it? After all, Boston has been in the drivers’ seat for at least the full second half of the season. They’ve had the title of “best team in the game” for some time, and have been odds-on favorites in virtually every matchup. Now the Finals are here, and even the big Las Vegas oddsmakers still have the Celtics as the team left holding up the trophy when it’s all over. 

But, no matter what anyone else is saying, Shaq is sticking to his prediction. After all, isn’t this the guy we wrote about as “Shaqstrodamus” in a recent post? Didn’t he correctly pick the league MVP and Rookie of the Year? (In case you missed it, the answer is yes… he picked them both.) Along with those two picks, O’Neal tapped the Mavs as NBA Champs, too. So…why? 

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Shaq’s confidence in his pick comes down to a few key reasons related to – in his opinion – key player matchups, as well as individual motivations. 

For starters, the matchups: O’Neal thinks the Celtics – as good as they are on defense – just don’t have the bodies needed to effectively guard Luka Doncic. (Of course, neither did pretty much any other team this past season!) Shaq says Luka’s versatility as both a scorer and also a distributor of the ball really makes him a headache for any other team.

Doncic has been around the NBA for a bit, yet he’s still a young man, in the prime of his playing career. Yet even as a kid, he was playing in top European leagues and winning titles there, too. Shaq sees trouble ahead for Boston stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, who will very likely struggle to defend Doncic without risking foul trouble. Another possible Doncic defender is Jrue Holiday. Yes, he’s got top-notch defensive skills, but he’s downright undersized compared to Luka. 

On the “motivation” front, O’Neal says he’s looking at you, Kyrie. Shaq says Irving will be highly motivated to make a good – if not great – showing against his old team. Irving did play for the Celtics…but we here at the offices of the ShaqFu Radio blog remember and love him for his time in Cleveland, helping LeBron and company win the NBA Championship back in 2016. 

Shaq says Irving’s personal motivation and drive will give the Mavs a real boost. It’s going to be interesting to watch, that’s for sure. 

So… same question as before: Who ya got? We’re getting pumped for what should be a great series! 

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