Shaq makes bold claim in Joel Embiid-Nikola Jokic MVP battle
As usual, Shaq did not hold back. In this case, Sixers fans should be happy that the Big Diesel said what he thought. NBA Hall of Famer and TNT analyst Shaquille O’Neal chimed in on who he thinks should walk away with the MVP award this season. As far as O’Neal is concerned, Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid should win this year’s award instead of the Denver Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic.
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“I’d give it to Joel Embiid right now. He’s playing the game like he’s supposed to be playing. He’s leading, rebounding, playing inside and he’s out there having fun. His PPG (Point Per Game) is more than the Joker’s. He’s a little bit better. He’ll be a 10 and the Joker will be a 9.9762541—they’re very very close.
“If you ask me for my opinion, I would go with Joel Embiid this year. They’re very very close,” said O’Neal.
O’Neal, an MVP recipient himself, believes that Embiid has an edge because of the way he contributes for his team. Joel Embiid scores, rebounds and leads his team as the Sixers are currently the first seeded team in the Eastern Conference. This is not a knock on Jokic who also contributes for the Nuggets in similar ways. The big difference is that Jokic’s team is currently in the fourth seed of the Western Conference.
The MVP debate has been a topic all season long and both Jokic and Embiid have been the consistent candidates throughout the season. Normally, the MVP is given to the player with the best record in the NBA like last year when Giannis Antetokounmpo won the award. However, it has to be noted that Nikola Jokic has played more games than Joel Embiid this season, so it’s going to be interesting to see how this concludes moving forward into the month of May.