One should expect Jayson Tatum to factor heavily in the NBA playoffs.

MassLive.com’s John Karalis argued Thursday on The Athletic’s “Anything is Poddable” podcast the Boston Celtics forward is the third-best player in the NBA Eastern Conference. Karalis believes Tatum has surpassed the Toronto Raptors’ Pascal Siakam this season, and the third-year Celtics star now trails just Phildalphia 76ers center Joel Embiid and Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, the reigning NBA MVP, in the Eastern Conference pecking order.

“Right now he (Tatum) has got to be three, ahead of Siakam,” Karalis said. “I think Siakam had him earlier in the year, but he has kind of taken a step back. But I think he (Tatum) has got to be three right now.”

Karalis joins ESPN’s Jay Williams among NBA analysts who recently have counted Tatum among the top players in the Eastern Conference.

Tatum’s play makes arguing against that assertion a pointless task. He is averaging 22.3 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game and earned his first selection to the NBA All-Star Game this season, albeit as a reserve, instead of a starter.

The 21-year-old will look to bolster his credentials further during the regular-season stretch run, which the Celtics will begin Friday night when they visit the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images