I’ve been in basketball a long, long time and I have to say Cousins is the most talented big guy I have ever seen. Shaq wasn’t talented, he was just strong. I was talented, but I wasn’t strong.

Well, that’s quite the statement to make regarding an MVP award winning All-Star, who also was a 3-time Finals MVP award winner and won 4 NBA titles, not to mention the Rookie of the Year award when he came into the NBA. The quote came from veteran NBA star Vlade Divac (#13 FCIR), who himself was known as the “pinnacle of touch and cunning in big men.”  To be fair, Divac was comparing Cousins to O’Neal when he made the statement, but to say Shaq “wasn’t talented” is just plain silly.

Strong big men have come and gone for decades in the NBA, but few have made their mark as Shaquille O’Neal did during his career. In his very first year, he averaged 23.4 points on 56.2% shooting, and in his second year scored an average 29.4 points while leading the NBA in field goal percentage at 60%. Mind you, this was while he was on the Magic, not the glory days in later years during the Lakers’ championship run. We haven’t even touched upon blocked shots and assists, either. To be sure, Shaq always struggled with free-throws, and he did utilize is strength and size to dominate the league, but he was an intelligent, capable player who ended his career with a 23.7 point average on .582 field goal accuracy, 10.9 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game. Mind you, his struggling latter years with frequent injuries brought those numbers down.

Over two decades ago, after careful observation from a few college games on TV, Niednagel identified his motor-skills and other Type-identifiers, and soon realized that the young buck was a #6 BEIR. In turn, Niednagel predicted (telling 3 NBA teams) great things for the 7-foot center, a prediction that he never would have made for most of the other 15 Brain Types. (And by the way, this was Shaq’s freshman year with Stanley Roberts, not later when all the pundits thought he might be special.) Niednagel saw past the size and strength of O’Neal, and knew that what lay between his ears would grant him tremendous success in the NBA, not being Goliath. For more on the history of Shaq from a BT perspective, see “Shaq Uncut: My Story” … and BTI’s.

At any rate, DeMarcus Cousins, a #13 FCIR, is indeed a talented player, but he’s also a loose cannon with neurotransmitter issues. Dependability and consistency will never be a mainstay for Mr. Cousins. He would have been no match for Shaq in his prime. For a guy to build your team around and win NBA championships, O’Neal was/is your man. Talent can only get you so far, particularly when it comes crunch time during the NBA finals, where motor-skills begin to break down and the pressure of the moment plays with an athlete’s mind. This is where a well-coached, disciplined #6 BEIR thrives, and where other Brain Types find it difficult to succeed on a consistent, back-to-back basis.

Written by: Staff
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