There isn’t a single player in the NBA to have scored more points in 2023 than Boston Celtics superstar Jayson Tatum.
Somehow, he’s still a long shot to win the NBA scoring title.
How? Let us explain.
The NBA recognizes its scoring champion as the player who averages the most points per game throughout an 82-game season. Through the Celtics’ win over the Indiana Pacers on Friday, five players could claim to have better point-per-game averages than Tatum’s 30.1; Joel Embiid (33.2), Luka Doncic (32.9), Damian Lillard (32.2), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (31.4) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (31.2).
Tatum, however, has scored 2,078 points on the season — which is good enough for a 120-point lead over Embiid for the most in the league. It’s also good enough for the NBA’s scoring title, according to the man himself.
“It favors me this year, so yeah (it’s good enough),” Tatum said, per NBC Sports Boston. “I mean, they do that in any other sport. Most home runs, most passing yards, so, there should be some award for most points scored. Maybe next year.”
Tatum’s chances at the scoring title have seemingly been hindered by a lack of durability from his counterparts. Of the players with more points per game than Tatum, only Gilgeous-Alexander has surpassed the 60-game mark. Tatum will hit 70 games the next time he takes the court.
Though he was a strong candidate early in the season, Tatum has fallen out of the MVP race almost entirely. The least the NBA could do is recognize him as its scoring champ.
That’s probably not going to happen, though. Better luck next year, JT.