At this point, nobody should be surprised when Shaquille O’Neal says something idiotic. If anything, the few notable moments in his otherwise unremarkable post-career stint as a commentator for TNT’s studio show have involved him positing logically indefensible, off-the-cuff proclamations. But this “David Lee is the white Chris Webber” thing is asinine, even for him.
He called Robin Lopez the best center in the NBA. Of course, because he obviously wasn’t actually saying something he’d ever thought very hard about, he subsequently corrected himself, replacing Robin’s name with his brother Brook’s. As if that made the statement more sensible.
He knocked former teammate Steve Nash for winning a pair of MVP awards, lamenting a “system” that only saw fit to award him one. (Wait, can you believe Shaq threw a former teammate under the bus? That’s certainly never happened before. I’m reeling right now.)
And now, Shaq has seemingly delighted himself and other uncritical sound bite consumers by calling Lee the “WCW.” Now, Shaq probably did this for the same reason he does most things on TNT: he’s not that clever, he felt like he needed to say something and he spouted it off without thinking. Of course, Chris Webber sitting a few feet away from him probably had something to do with it.
But, obviously, David Lee isn’t very much like Chris Webber at all. For starters, Webber was simply a vastly superior player. You can check out Lee and Webber‘s comparative career stats here (they all favor Webber), but to keep it simple, how about this fact: Webber was the best player on a Sacramento Kings team that was a couple of bad breaks away from more than one NBA Finals appearance. David Lee has never been on a team with a winning record—not even close, actually. Argue all you want about outside factors, correlation and causation, but there’s no getting around the fact that Lee does not do winning things. Webber did.
I realize it might be unpopular to bash David Lee after he shot 13-of-15 against the Denver Nuggets, putting up a season-high point total, but anyone who watched that game came away with a pair of obvious truths.
First: David Lee is a very good offensive player.
Second: David Lee absolutely kills his team in every other facet of the game.
He provides zero help defense, his teams have historically rebounded more effectively when he’s on the bench, he makes no effort to chase down opponents after turnovers (ask Kenneth Faried and his numerous chasedown blocks what the payoff is for that) and he never EVER challenges penetrators at the rim.
Webber was a player with faults (ego, questionable defense, lack of post moves), but he should be insulted by Shaq’s Lee comparison.