The NBA season is fast approaching the business end as the All-Star Weekend is set for next weekend. Following that, there will be just over 20 games to improve their seeding and put themselves in position for a playoff run. This time will also be crucial for players looking to put some finishing touches on their seasons and improve their cases for any awards like the MVP or Defensive Player of the Year.
Everyone has their takes for who will qualify for these honors, with the Phoenix Suns and the reigning Milwaukee Bucks making great bids for a championship run along with dark horses like the Chicago Bulls. The MVP race is just as hard to predict, with Joel Embiid, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Nikola Jokic all having seasons for the ages. Shaquille O'Neal has gotten his predictions in, answering some questions ahead of the Super Bowl in Los Angeles on Sunday.
Interviewer: "If the season ends right now, who's the MVP right now?"
Shaquille O'Neal: "Imma have to go with Joel Embiid."
Interviewer: "And right now, your prediction for the NBA championship?"
Shaq: "I would say the Golden State Warriors."
The Golden State Warriors have the second-best record in the NBA at 42-15 and have looked solid throughout the season despite some rough patches for Steph Curry and injuries to the likes of Draymond Green. They beat the Los Angeles Lakers in a close game on Saturday night, with Klay Thompson going off in the 4th quarter, a hugely promising sign for their title aspirations.
Joel Embiid, if anything, is out to prove O'Neal's prediction right even more than the Warriors. Embiid is averaging a monster 29.5 points per game to go along with 11.2 rebounds. There seems to be almost nothing stopping him at the moment and he had a monster 40-point triple-double in a win over the Cavaliers on Saturday. It's safe to say that Shaq has made some good picks.