NBA Draft

Where does Celtics star Jayson Tatum belong in NBA MVP race amid hot streak?


Nobody in the NBA is playing better than Boston Celtics superstar Jayson Tatum right now.

The 24-year-old forward scored 44 points, pulled down five rebounds and grabbed three steals in Boston’s convincing 115-101 win over the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday night.

It was the first time Tatum has scored 40-plus points in back-to-back games. In fact, he’s averaging 42 points, six rebounds and 4.5 assists over his last four matchups, highlighted by an incredible 54-point outburst in a win over Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday.

The Celtics are climbing up the standings (fifth in the Eastern Conference) and Tatum is performing at a first team All-NBA level. It all begs the question: Where does he belong in the league MVP race?

Former Celtics center Kendrick Perkins is ready to throw Tatum’s name into the mix:

There’s a very, very slim chance Tatum actually wins MVP this year. The race is essentially between Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid and Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (last year’s winner). Both are having tremendous seasons. Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, a two-time winner himself, is third in the race.

Forsberg: Tatum might have found signature celebration

After that, there’s a drop-off where players such as Devin Booker, Ja Morant, Luka Doncic, DeMar DeRozan, Stephen Curry, Tatum and others are fighting for a top-five finish in the voting.

 

It wouldn’t be outlandish to suggest Tatum could vault into the top five by the time the final voting comes in. If he keeps playing like a first-team All-NBA player and the Celtics secure a top three seed in the East, then it would be pretty hard to ignore his immense role in Boston’s remarkable turnaround.



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