"Joel Embiid is the baddest big right now" - Shaq picks Embiid for MVP

Shaq is one of three players to win MVP, All-Star MVP and Finals MVP in a season. Joel is the first center since Shaq to win the scoring title

Philadelphia 76ers in a file photo (Image credit: Twitter/76ers)
By Amruth Kalidas | Apr 22, 2022 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

Joel Embiid and Philadelphia 76ers have been on a tear this season. The 76ers beat Toronto at the buzzer in Game 2, courtesy Embiid’s 3 pointer, in the ongoing playoff series to take a 2-0 lead. Embiid has been highly influential in both the wins as he has been throughout the regular season.

Embiid led the NBA in scoring for the first time in his career, with 30.6 points per game. He also averaged 11.7 rebounds and 4.2 assists across 68 appearances, leading the Philadelphia 76ers (51-31) to fourth place in the Eastern Conference.

On ESPN’s ‘NBA Today’, Shaquille O’Neal endorsed Embiid to win the MVP race.

“Joel is understanding what a MVP should be. I always thought he was the baddest guy in the league.”

O’Neal, a four-time NBA champion, earned two scoring titles as a center. Big Shaq is one of only three players to win MVP, All-Star MVP and Finals MVP in the same season.

Read more: Celtics go 2-0 up on the Nets as Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving have an off night

Embiid is the first center since O’Neal to win the NBA scoring title (29.7 ppg during O’Neal’s MVP season). Thus, O’Neal’s endorsement of Embiid for this year’s MVP has more weight.

“I don’t know how these guys know what they’re looking at but like you said, Joel Embiid is the baddest big right now”


After watching Embiid drill in a buzzer beater 3, Shaq shared his thoughts on big men shooting threes in today’s league. 

“Is it evolution or de-evolution? I don’t like big guys stepping up and shooting threes. You guys want to call it evolution, I am not gonna be a hater. But you have that ability to do it, I say go out and do it. But if it’s failing, I don’t think it’s something you should. I think you always have to mix it up.”

What Shaq is trying to say is, that it makes more sense to use your shooters as they are supposed to be used, instead of attempting to develop your own deep game. Though it is a benefit in situations you are left open from deep, Shaq is arguing that there should not be enough occasions to put you in that position as a big man to try and build that skill over utilizing your ability to drain the easy two.

“It’s always easy to get your teammates involved. You want Steph Curry coming up, pick and roles tiring yourself out, or you want to give me the ball and hit the double? Go ahead, Steph. Go to your spot, and I’ll kick it right to you.”