With the Boston Celtics off to a solid 3-1 start early in the regular season, so have the potential NBA MVP campaigns from the young stud duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
At least, according to teammate Marcus Smart.
Smart, the longest-tenured Celtics player, believes both Tatum and Brown have displayed their level of significance to the team. In doing so, Smart is confident that the two will find their way into league MVP discussion when the regular season is all set and done.
“Definitely, definitely,” Smart said, according to NBC Sports Boston. “I think Jaylen Brown is, too. I think we don’t talk about that enough. Just as much as we talk about Jayson, you gotta talk about JB. Because he holds the fort down just as much. Especially nights where Jayson isn’t going, you can always depend on Jaylen to give you something. So I think, for us, and for this league, we need to really recognize what Jaylen has been doing and what he’s continued to do and the progression that he’s making and that player that he’s become.”
Still a massively premature call from Smart, nonetheless.
So far, Tatum is leading the Celtics in scoring and rebounds, averaging 32.5 points and 8.2 boards per game. While Tatum’s early scoring production has been impressive, the 24-year-old has an abundance of elite competition ahead of him — Ja Morant (Memphis Grizzlies), Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks), and Donovan Mitchell (Cleveland Cavaliers) are just a few NBA scoring leaders who all currently sit ahead of Tatum. However, to Smart’s credit, Tatum is shooting at a better rate (55.6%) from the field than all scorers above him.
Brown, while also off to a strong start by averaging 24 points and 5.5 rebounds, more likely than not won’t contend for the MVP. Evident in Brown and Tatum’s tenures in Boston, when the Celtics play at their highest level, it comes when Tatum serves as the offensive leader.
If Tatum for MVP is a stretch then Brown for MVP is most certainly a stretch. Certainly with the NBA season just four games in — for most teams.
The Celtics return to action on Friday, taking on the Cleveland Cavaliers. Tipoff from TD Garden is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET.