LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – OCTOBER 10: NBA analyst Shaquille O'Neal arrives at a preseason game between the Golden State Warriors and the Los Angeles Lakers at T-Mobile Arena on October 10, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Lakers defeated the Warriors 123-113. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Shaquille O'Neal is ready to give the NBA's crown to Stephen Curry.
During an episode of The Big Podcast, via NBA on TNT, the former Los Angeles Lakers star declared Curry the "best player in the world." His Inside The NBA co-host Kenny Smith agreed that Curry was the best player last season.
Curry led the Golden State Warriors to his fourth championship by averaging 27.4 points, 5.9 assists, and 5.2 rebounds per game during the postseason. He also received Finals MVP honors for the first time.
Following his title run, some fans concur that the 34-year-old guard sits atop the NBA's hierarchy.
However, others disagree with simply declaring a new best player every time a different superstar earns a ring.
Per Basketball Reference,
Most basketball observers likely called Giannis Antetokounmpo the best after he led the Milwaukee Bucks to glory in 2021. The two-time MVP nearly averaged a triple-double last year, but he couldn't carry the Bucks back to the NBA Finals without Khris Middleton.
Nikola Jokic is a back-to-back MVP winner. Kevin Durant belonged in the conversation before the Brooklyn Nets got swept out of the opening round, and LeBron James could still get some consideration based on his full body of work.
It's possible to celebrate Curry's excellence without overly succumbing to recency bias.