Shaquille O’Neal sides with “baddest player in the game” Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in MVP race

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has set the NBA on fire with his dazzling displays this season. After leading Canada on a deep run into the 2023 FIBA World Cup, Shai maintained his form that contributed to the OKC’s brilliance this season.

With plaudits coming his way, Shai now finds another fan in NBA legend, Shaquille O’Neal. Shaq who is known for his verdict-handling nature did not delay boarding the SGA hype train. The former Lakers star not only praised the 25-year-old’s performance but also strapped the rocket to his back.

Shaquille O’Neal crowns Shai Gilgeous-Alexander his MVP

With many analysts and current players participating in the discussion of the 2024 NBA MVP title race, the ever-opinionated Shaquille O’Neal seems to have pledged his allegiance.

While discussing the most valuable player of this season on “Inside the NBA”, Shaq stated, “MVP is SGA…He’s one of the few guys who have fifty 30-point games in a season, and he meets my criteria. He’s the baddest player in the game and their team is 49-21.”

During the initial stages of the season, O’Neal was all praises about Mavs Luka Doncic and predicted that he will win the MVP title for his exceptional record-setting season, however, the OKC guard seems to have a lasting impression on the Big Diesel with Jamal Crawford seconding his opinion.

Despite having lesser numbers than his fellow MVP contender Luka Doncic, Shaq chose SGA over Doncic for single-handedly carrying the Oklahoma franchise’s offense on his shoulders. SGA is averaging 30.4 points, 5.6 rebounds and 6.3 assists, much less than Luka’s 33.9 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 9.8 assists. Although, the OKC guard has a higher shooting rate (54%) from the floor than the Slovenian star (48.7%).

Rather than the point difference what mattered more to Shaq is that SGA’s team is ahead of the Mavericks with a 50-21 record and SGA has a bigger impact on it. Although Gilgeous-Alexander’s performance has dipped a bit as he has claimed to be playing without being fully fit.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander playing through injury

After their win against the Pelicans, the 2-time All-Star revealing about his injury, said, “Little banged up in my quad. Since the Utah game”. Shai played three games with injury averaging 19.6 points, 5 rebounds, and 6 assists. The 25-year-old appeared in all the games for the Thunder this season barring one.

In the game before the Pelicans one, OKC faced the Bucks who not only broke OKC’s 4-game winning streak but also held them from scoring above a mere 93 points. Shai who has consistently dropped massive numbers could only manage to score 12 points.

While many key players dealing with their injuries, Gilgeous-Alexander continues to add numbers on the scoreboard. With the regular season rapidly coming to an end, SGA must recover from his injuries to help his team for a successful post-season run irrespective of his personal glory of winning the MVP.

Shalini Ray

297 articles

Shalini is a passionate NBA follower who got hooked to the game thanks to Stephen Curry's sharpshooting show. While indulging in the sport of basketball solely within the confines of the school court, she keeps herself as close as possible to the game through all the latest happenings in the world of NBA.


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