Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal were in vehement disagreement over whether Chris Paul deserves to be in the MVP conversation.
Chris Paul has been instrumental in leading the Suns to the second-best record in the West. Ever since his arrival, the Suns have been given a facelift on both ends of the floor. The Point God brings it on a nightly basis, and he’s got the clutch gene to match his playmaking.
CP3 has once finished second in the MVP race to Kobe Bryant, but that was back in 2007-08. Since then, Paul has lost a few steps and become an injury-prone player. But he remains the class of all true point guards in the league even today.
The Suns finished 10th in the Conference last season, and that was on the back of an 8-0 run in the NBA bubble. Their ascent to second place clearly shows how much of a positive impact Chris Paul can still have.
Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal debate whether Chris Paul is in the MVP race
After the Suns’ win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday night, Chuck began actively backing CP3 in this year’s MVP race. His take is another one out of the left field, and Shaq chose to take him head-on. A part of their exchange went like this –
Barkley: First of all, [Shaq] is 100% wrong. He said the team doesn’t matter. The team does matter. And my only point is we talk about all of these other guys who are playing great…
Shaq: Yeah, but if you have two guys, for example, Joel Embiid and [Nikola Jokic], that are putting up great numbers, you can’t say ‘Ok, because this guy has a better record he should get MVP.’
Barkley: Why can’t you? When Steve Nash won MVP he wasn’t better than you. He wasn’t better than Kobe. But they had a better regular season. And all I’m saying is he should be in the conversation.
Shaq: Change it to the most valuable team, then. Not most valuable player. Player is singular…P L A Y E R is singular.
CP3 may have a case, but so do several other star candidates. Joel Embiid was the frontrunner at the All-Star break, but an injury to him means that the field is now open. There definitely are more statistically impactful candidates than Paul this year, so he’s likely to miss out on that elusive Maurice Podoloff trophy.