NBA Insider Reveals Why Jayson Tatum Could Be Snubbed From MVP

Feb 11, 2024; Miami, Florida, USA;  Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) drives to the basket as
Feb 11, 2024; Miami, Florida, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) drives to the basket as / Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Celtics enter the NBA All-Star break on a heater, winning their last six games before the break. Boston leads the NBA with 43 wins this season, and the C's are a staggering 26-3 at home and also hold the association's best point differential.

Despite all of the team success, one Celtic has stood out in the league's MVP conversation, superstar Jayson Tatum.

Tatum is currently listed as +3000 to win the NBA regular season MVP, the fifth-lowest odds. Tatum is averaging 27.1 points per game this season while shooting 47.5 percent from the floor and grabbing 8.6 rebounds per game.

With Tatum now inserted into the MVP conversation, ESPN NBA insider Brian Windhorst suggested that Tatum's past playoff shortcomings could hinder his MVP campaign, while also admitting that the rationale might not be so fair.

"It’s not fair, because it’s supposed to be on this year only. Jayson Tatum in the playoffs, particularly in the Finals, didn’t play his best. And now, fair or not, the bar is set higher."

Brian Windhorst of ESPN

Boston lost in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals to the Miami Heat last season, and the Celtics fell to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals in 2022. Tatum averaged 25.3 points per game against Miami and 21.5 points per game against Golden State. Windhorst also conveniently forgets that Tatum set a Game 7 record with 51 points in the previous 2023 Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Philadelphia 76ers to even get Boston to that point.

ESPN's Stephen A. Smith feels differently, arguing that the Celtics' team success should carry weight in Tatum's MVP candidacy and that Tatum should be the leading candidate.

"Does being the best player on the best team matter? I’d say it does."

Stephen A. Smith on First Take

If you're defining MVP as the best player on the best team, then Tatum undoubtedly fits that bill. Unfortunately, every voter often crafts their own definition Is Tatum the best player in the NBA this season? Almost definitely not. Either way, it is hard to follow Windhorst's logic.

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