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I would not have even thought of bringing up this possibility a week or so ago, but with three games gone Jayson Tatum has been the best Celtics player so far. Please note in the title I stated slight chance for MVP consideration, but I feel it is no longer out of the realm of possibility.


Jayson leads the team in scoring at 21.0 PPG, with Kyrie Irving second at 14.7. Tatum also leads in rebounding with 10.7 RPG, and his board work has definitely improved over last season. He also has the most floor time at 33.7 MPG and is in front for per for any Celtic playing over 15 minutes/game.


It is not simply the numbers that make an argument for the lofty goal, but also the fact that Jayson keeps improving at a phenomenal clip. Here is the NBA's Marc Amico on Tatum's ascension:

Many saw this greatness budding last postseason, when Tatum averaged 18.5 points per game to lead the Celtics to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. The scary thing is that through three games, he has been significantly more dominant than he was during that run.

Tatum carries averages of 21.0 points and 10.7 rebounds per game into the second week of the NBA season. His scoring average is up 7.1 PPG over last season’s, and his rebounding average has more than doubled from last season’s average of 5.0 RPG.

And perhaps most noteworthy, as the Knicks learned Saturday night, Tatum is already finding comfort in the tightest moments the NBA has to offer.

Kyrie Irving was mentioned last season as a potential MVP candidate and most likely will be again this season. If that is the case, and Jayson keeps up, or even improves. his production - why not him in the talk for League MVP? He is averaging a double-double and is second in steals (1.3 SPG) behind Gordon Hayward, but he does need to improve on assist numbers.

Proven clutch scorer with accuracy from everywhere. Terrific rebounder. Versatile defender. Playoff-seasoned. Go-to guy with the game on the line. Slight chance for MVP, or at least some consideration for the award? Best player thus far on a top-level team? I know it's early, but he is going to get even better as the season progresses. Never even considered this a week ago.

Follow Tom at @TomLaneHC and Facebook

Photo via Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Tom Lane 10/22/2018 01:47:00 PM Edit
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