Would Shaq be NBA material if he was only 6' 6" instead of 7 feet tall?

Shaq is physical “freak” in that he is a strong, regularly porportioned muscular athlete who is 7 feet tall and 320+ lbs vs the usual more beanpole style body types super tall 7 foot athletes usually have. Other players his height just bounce off him.

How talented an athlete is he without that height and mass Could he really be a competitive NBA player at say 6’ 6" and 240 lbs if he didn’t have that extra 6 inches and 80 lbs over most of the other players?

If Shaq was 6’6" he would be Charles Barkley except not as funny.

Charles Barkley now or Charles Barkley when he was in playing condition?

Before I go, keep in mind that I don’t watch or follow basketball most of the time. Which doesn’t stop me from having my opinion. I think he relies on his size a lot of the time. However, if he was shorter, he may have learned to do things from an early age like shoot free throws. He may still be a good player, but he’d play differently.

Right. He would be a whole different Shaq if he was 6 foot 6. The Shaq that plays now has spent all his life being able to just displace people around him and around the basket. If he was, say, 6’6, 250, he wouldn’t have been doing the “Shaq thing” all his life, so it’s not like he’d just be a shrunken version of the player you see today.

But I guess that’s kind of the original question, anway. In my opinion, if Shaq was eight inches shorter, he’d still be an NBA player, because I’m going to make the assumption that he’d still be freakishly athletic for his size. In other words, since Shaq is, say, 75% quicker and nimbler than the average 330 pounder (which he is- I hate when people say he’s a big stiff who can’t do anything but dunk), I’m going to assume he’d be that much better athletically than the average six foot six guy. If I’m allowed to make that assumption, then I think Shaq would be like a Larry Johnson in the “Grandmama” days, and still an NBA star.

Just to repeat a lot of what people have said…

He has the athleticism to still be a player if he was shorter. The question is whether he could develop the skills. Many very athletic people have not been able to make the NBA because they couldn’t develop the shooting or dribbliing skills neccessary. If Shaq was a bit shorter, obviously he would work on those skills more.

Still, a lot of this would actually depend on his high school days. The role he had on that team if he was much shorter would decide what colleges recruited him for. If he was still a center in HS, I daresay a smaller college may have recruited him and put him at power forward. At 6’6", I doubt he would’ve succeeded in the NBA at PF. Barkley only succeeded because of his tireless work ethic (during his physically fit days). Shaq doesn’t have the same ethic.

So, I guess my answer is:
If he grew up to be 6’6", he would have NBA athleticism, but his status would depend on his HS and college coachs and how they played and trained him. Remember, making the NBA is really tough.

And if he just shrunk to 6’6", no way he’d stay…