Shaq is a player who is notorious for his effort. It ebbs and flows like the tides of the sea.
I can remember reading an interview where a teammate of his while on the Heat remarked that he knew whether they were going to win or lose any given day by how Shaq was warming up. If he was serious, they would win. If he was goofy and playing around, they were going to lose.
A lot of mid-level players remark about how the biggest adaptation they had to make was about being a business man and taking a serious approach every day. The most consistently successful team of the last decade, the Spurs, is considered to be boring to watch, methodical in approach, and difficult to beat (just ask Steve Nash).
So obviously ,if one could track Shaq's day to day emotional levels and figure out his psychological profile, it is possible to know his mood and anticipate how well he will play.
Likewise, Kobe is known around the league to play very well and hard when he is pissed off. Not that he ever takes a night off, but even he has different levels of effort.
The key to doing this is reading body language, figuring out some of these player's driving forces and what motivates them to do well.
Shaq has always been very prideful and considers himself one of the best players ever. When someone insults him to reponds with anger and effort.
Anyways, the purpose of this post is to detail the possibility of tracking certain players in the NBA and looking for triggers that will spark them to either over perform or under-perform in their next game or series of games.
Shaq is extremely athletic and superior to the other centers in the league. The player profile of someone who has more athleticism and strength is more susceptible to the highs and lows of emotional and energy strains because his performance is based on physical toil, rather than a jump shooter, or defensive specialist. Contrasted with Tim Duncan, who is basically really tall, and must focus every night on a repetoire of moves. So essentially, the players who success is based on athleticism will be the most susceptible.