Jayson Tatum is the real NBA Rookie of the Year in Al Horford’s eyes.

The veteran Boston Celtics forward publicly lobbied for his 2o-year-0ld teammate to scoop the prestigious honor Monday night following the team’s 102-94 win over the Phoenix Suns. After Tatum scored a game-high 23 points, Horford explained to the Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach why he believes Tatum is the most outstanding first-year player in the league.

Tatum has started all 74 games this season, averaging 13.7 points and 5.1 rebounds on 48 percent field-goal shooting. His numbers are impressive, but his two-way consistency in helping the Celtics earn a 51-23 record might be more important.

Nevertheless, Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons and Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell are considered favorites to claim the NBA Rookie of the Year Award over Tatum.

Few argued when Horford finished runner-up in the voting for the 2007-08 NBA Rookie of the Year Award behind Kevin Durant. This year’s race will be closer than the one 10 years ago. Perhaps that’s why Horford is lobbying for his talented teammate.

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images