Shaq Taking His Decline in Stride

by December 22, 2009

These days, O’Neal at least appears somewhat aware of his own basketball mortality: “Heading into his return to Phoenix Monday night, O’Neal was averaging seven fewer minutes a game than when he was an All-Star with the Suns last season. Not once has the veteran complained about his role or that he’s getting almost three fewer shots per game than a year ago. His positive attitude hasn’t wavered since the first day of training camp. However, there is something that had telling with O’Neal and is fair to compare to last season. That’s his shooting percentage, which has taken a noticeable dip. A career 58 percent shooter who hit nearly 61 percent of his shots in 2008-09, O’Neal is shooting a career-low 50 percent so far with the Cavs. ‘I’ve been missing some shots I usually make,’ O’Neal said before this road trip started. ‘But I don’t need to be the center of the offense anymore, I don’t need to worry about getting shots.”‘