Former NBA Player Reveals Where Jayson Tatum Should Finish In MVP Race

It's stiff competition for the award


Feb 27, 2023

Boston Celtics star forward Jayson Tatum has put together a stellar season, but he has slowly faded from the NBA’s MVP race.

Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo now dominate the conversation for the league’s premier individual award, as that trio all have better odds to capture the hardware than Tatum, according to DraftKings Sportsbook.

But one former NBA player, who happened to be teammates with Tatum during the 2020-21 season, doesn’t see it that way.

Tristan Thompson revealed his MVP rankings on ESPN’s “NBA Today” on Monday, and he put Tatum at the top of his list followed by Embiid and Jokic.

“To back it up, JT leads the league in game-tying or winning shots in the last five seasons,” Thompson said. “And listen they’re the No.1 in the East with guys out. He’s had Robert Williams out. He’s had Jaylen Brown out. He’s had Marcus Smart out. He has weathered the storm. That’s what an MVP does.

“Come on ladies and gentlemen, this is what MVPs do. It’s about time he gets his respect.”

Thompson does make a compelling case for Tatum, but it probably won’t do enough to make up the gap that is forming between him and the three other top MVP candidates.

Embiid leads the league in scoring with 33.1 points per game while Antetokounmpo is averaging a double-double of 31.3 points and 12 rebounds — both marks are higher than Tatum’s.

Jokic continues to be an offensive wizard, posting almost nightly triple-doubles as he has tallied 24.8 points, 11.7 rebounds and 10 assists per contest while shooting a stunning 63.3% from the field.

Tatum’s numbers — 30.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, 4.6 assists — are in the vicinity of Embiid, Antetokounmpo and Jokic, but they are also clearly a step below.

While Tatum will probably miss out on claiming the MVP award, he does have the best chance out of the bunch to win an NBA title. And that should be way more valuable to the Celtics’ cornerstone piece than anything else.

Thumbnail photo via Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports Images
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