Jazz star Rudy Gobert fires back at Shaq’s criticism, believes he would’ve locked up Lakers legend

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NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal and Utah Jazz star Rudy Gobert went tit-for-tat on social media after the former Los Angeles Lakers player suggested the center wouldn’t be able to guard him.

O’Neal, on “The Big Podcast with Shaq,” told Nischelle Turner the Jazz weren’t that good of a team to begin with and Gobert is a great defensive player without any type of offensive game.

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Spencer Dinwiddie of the Mavericks drives against Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz during the Western Conference first-round playoffs at American Airlines Center on April 16, 2022, in Dallas.
(Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

“Rudy’s a great player, a fine defensive player but he offers nothing on the offensive end. Like he has no post moves,” O’Neal said.

Spice Adams, another co-host on the podcast, told O’Neal he thought Gobert could hold him to “like 12 points.”

O’Neal responded: “Yeah – in the first three minutes.”

Gobert responded on social media, saying he would “lock his a– up.”

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There’s no doubt Gobert is a great defensive player. He’s averaged more than two blocks per game since his second season in the NBA. He’s also averaged more than 10 points and 10 rebounds in each season since 2016-17.

Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O'Neal and Brian Shaw of the Lakers joke on the bench during the final minutes of the Western Conference Finals against the San Antonio Spurs on May 27, 2001, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal and Brian Shaw of the Lakers joke on the bench during the final minutes of the Western Conference Finals against the San Antonio Spurs on May 27, 2001, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
(Mike Nelson/AFP via Getty Images)

He’s a three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, a five-time All-Defensive First Team member and four-time All-NBA First Team member.

But O’Neal was out of this world during his prime. He finished his career as a 15-time All-Star, 14-time All-NBA First Team member, three-time All-Defensive First Team member and a four-time NBA champion.

Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz during the Western Conference Playoffs against the Dallas Mavericks at Vivint Smart Home Arena on April 28, 2022, in Salt Lake City.

Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz during the Western Conference Playoffs against the Dallas Mavericks at Vivint Smart Home Arena on April 28, 2022, in Salt Lake City.
(Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

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When it comes to analytical stats, O’Neal had a defensive box plus/minus of 0.7 and 66.4 defensive win shares. Gobert, in his career so far, has a 2.2 defensive box/plus minus and 37.9 defensive win shares.

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