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Shaq says SGA deserved 2024 NBA MVP over Nikola Jokic


When Nuggets star Nikola Jokic was named 2024 NBA MVP, Shaquille O’Neal was not shy to admit he disagreed with the voters on this year’s award results.

TNT’s “Inside the NBA” crew revealed Jokic as the NBA MVP winner Wednesday night, but O’Neal was adamant that the award should have gone to Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

“I don’t like to rain on people’s parade but I’m not happy with this one,” O’Neal said.

“Congratulations to Joker, you are the best big man in the league, but, based on everybody’s criteria … stats, No. 1 seed, which team has the better record? I felt Shai [Gilgeous]-Alexander deserved it.

“I’ve been No. 2 [in the MVP race] a lot and I played my a— off. So the fact he has to start all over next year and try and win it again, I know this is going to be hurtful for him. Hopefully, he uses it to motivate him and win a championship,” O’Neal continued.

“I thought, and again, no disrespect to the Joker — the best big man in the league by far. … I thought Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was gonna win it.”

This is not a new stance from O’Neal. He has been campaigning for Gilgeous-Alexander as this year’s MVP since January.

Did Gilgeous-Alexander get robbed by Jokic of his first NBA MVP award? The Sporting News breaks down the stats below.

MORE: Where Nikola Jokic’s three MVP awards rank on all-time list

O’Neal went on to explain Gilgeous-Alexander’s MVP case. SGA had 51 games with at least 30 points — the most in a single season since James Harden in 2018.

Gilgeous-Alexander led the Thunder to the No. 1 seed when “no one expected it,” O’Neal continued. Oklahoma City won the tiebreaker with Denver (57-25) for the best record in the West.

In the preseason, the Thunder were projected to win just 43 games and had +7500 odds to win the NBA Finals. Behind Gilgeous-Alexander’s superstar season, OKC blew that projection out of the water with 57 wins. They are currently listed at +700 to win the NBA Finals, per BetMGM.

The Nuggets, on the other hand, were expected to be the best team in the West again. They were pegged to win 54 games and had +450 odds to win the NBA Finals. Denver ended up hitting the over with a 57-25 record.

Gilgeous-Alexander finished with averages of 30.1 points, 6.2 assists, 5.5 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 0.9 blocks per game. He ranked second to Luka Doncic for the most total points and tied with De’Aaron Fox (150) for the most total steals in the NBA.

Jokic’s case speaks for itself. He won his third MVP in four seasons for a reason.

The 29-year-old solidified his place as the best basketball player in the world with averages of 26.4 points, 12.4 rebounds and 9.0 assists per game.

Jokic ranked in the top five in the NBA in total points (2,085; fifth), total rebounds (976; third) and total assists (708; second).

For the advanced stats crowd, Jokic finished first in Player Efficiency Rating (PER), Win Shares, Box Plus/Minus and Value Over Replacement Player (VORP).

It’s not like the Nuggets had a down year, either. Denver only surrendered the No. 1 seed by way of a tiebreaker, losing three of its four head-to-head matchups against the Thunder.

MORE: Why Nikola Jokic is SN’s NBA Player of the Year — again

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