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#pounditTuesday, November 29, 2022

Shaq defends his interesting pick for NBA MVP

Shaquille O'Neal on a TNT set

Steph Curry is the favorite to win NBA MVP across many online sportsbooks, but that’s now for whom Shaquille O’Neal would vote.

Shaq spoke on TNT Tuesday about the MVP debate. The analyst and 1999-2000 NBA MVP said that one of the issues with determining the MVP is the unclear criteria. But Shaq has his own criteria, and that has led him to choose Joel Embiid as his deserving MVP for now.

“I always thought Most Valuable Player was a singular award, which means you’re the baddest guy in the league,” Shaq said. “And the baddest guy in the league right now is Joel Embiid. But they’re in sixth place, so hopefully the media doesn’t penalize him if another guy who’s close and his team has a better record.”

Shaq seems extra impressed that Embiid is not letting the Ben Simmons saga distract and deter him from playing well.

“But the other guy? He doesn’t want to be there? Forget him. ‘I’m with Tobias Harris,'” Shaq said of what he feels Embiid’s mentality is.

Curry, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Nikola Jokic are the top three favorites for MVP at most sportsbooks. Embiid is some place behind them.

Embiid is third in the league with 29.0 points per game. He is adding 10.8 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.0 blocks per game. His Sixers are sixth in the East at 28-19. Embiid certainly belongs in the discussion, but there are plenty of other “bad” players, like Curry, Giannis and Jokic. It will be a good race to see who earns the award.

Photo: May 20, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Former NBA player and current TNT television personality Shaquille O’Neal prior to game one of the Eastern Conference Finals of the NBA Playoffs between the Atlanta Hawks and the Cleveland Cavaliers at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

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