"Tiger Woods had that look" - Shaquille O'Neal accuses Zion Williamson of lacking championship flair
Shaquille O'Neal and the "Inside the NBA" crew were on hand for the New Orleans Pelicans' semifinal loss to the LA Lakers on Thursday night in Las Vegas. After a blowout game that saw LeBron James lead the Lakers to an astounding 133-89 win, the Hall of Famer weighed in on the result. As he explained, despite Zion Williamson returning to the court, the big man simply didn't look like a champion.
Of course, Williamson is still playing his way back into form after playing in just 29 games last season. With 19 games under his belt this season, Williamson is averaging numbers comparable to his rookie year, with one key difference.
Although he is still returning to form, Williamson has been averaging a career-high in assists at 4.8 per game. Despite that, on the offensive end of the floor, Williamson is averaging a career-low 22.2 points per game.
On the heels of a 13-point performance that saw him record just two rebounds and three assists in 26 minutes, Shaquille O'Neal took aim at the young star. As he explained, he wasn't trying to criticize the young star, he merely wanted to pass along lessons he learned from early in his career.
“He doesn't have that look. Like, I'm not the greatest ever but I know a look when I see it. … Tiger Woods had that look. Jack Nicholson had that look.”
Shaquille O'Neal's assessment of Zion Williamson's game and what the young star needs to do better
As Shaquille O'Neal explained, there are a number of things that Zion Williamson simply isn't doing at a high level. Many of them are things that are more indicative of effort rather than skills.
Throughout his career, the one thing about Zion Williamson that hasn't been questioned is his skill. In addition to boasting incredibly unique physical attributes, Williamson also notably has an elite basketball IQ that makes him unlike any other player we've seen.
The big question about the young star, of course, has always been his ability to stay healthy, largely as a result of his frame and the extra weight he carries. Regarding the situation, it's no secret that the two concerns play into one another.
The more Williamson is injured, the less he's able to be in basketball shape. The way Shaquille O'Neal sees things, however, Williamson wasn't putting forth his best effort in the Pelicans' semifinal game.
“He does not run hard. He doesn't seal. He doesn't demand the ball. Like you got a small guy and we talk about it all the time. Barbecue Chicken. Charles (Barkley) talks about it all the time. You can't let a little guy guard you."
Currently, the team sits in eighth place in a stacked Western Conference with a 12-11 record. After a tough loss to the Lakers, they will look to bounce back on Monday, December 11th, when they face the No. 1 ranked Minnesota Timberwolves.