Jayson Tatum has been spearheading the Boston Celtics this season, averaging 33.0 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 5.6 assists per game over the stretch of the last eight games, prompting Matt Barnes to make an honest confession about his 2023 MVP potential and candidature.
Barnes has been mightily impressed with the playmaking and scoring ability of Jayson Tatum as the three-time All-Star had led the Boston Celtics (35-12) to become the best team in the NBA this season, to date.
Barnes said on Sirius XM NBA Radio, “I absolutely love Jayson Tatum's game. In every facet, he is a three-level scorer, I don't think he has any holes. I think the one area he needed to work on, and I think it was a humbling experience in the Finals, was his playmaking ability and not turning the ball over and I think he worked at that. Jayson Tatum to me is in the top 2 or 3 MVP conversation. The best player on the team with the best record so I really like what he has done. He was kind of a Kobe (Bryant) understudy, Kobe put his arms around a handful of guys and he was one of them. It has been a blessing to be able to see him continue to grow and he's only going to get better.”
Jayson Tatum’s true MVP accreditation this season
The 24-year-old Power Forward is third in most points scored per game in the 2022-23 season with an average of 31.2, trailing only behind Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers) and Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks).
While Nikola Jokic, who is chasing his third consecutive MVP honor, might be leading in the same race, Tatum is not far away. If the Celtics were to top the league as the best team, Jayson Tatum could well end the drought for guards to win the highest individual accolade against the big men.
Jayson Tatum Injury Status
The Boston Celtics were led by Jaylen Brown against the Toronto Raptors on Saturday as Jayson Tatum was given a worthy reft due to a left sore wrist. Although the 2021-22 Eastern Conference MVP wants to rush back on the NBA hardwood yet Joe Mazzulla would not be taking any chances with his marquee scorer.
The next challenge for the defending Eastern Conference Champions will be against the unpredictable Orlando Magic on the road.