Jayson Tatum and Boston have started off hot, and he may lead the MVP race. Tommy Burch looks at this year’s stats and explains why he should be No. 1.
Jayson Tatum – Early MVP
Jayson Tatum has been playing some of his best basketball ever, proving to the world that he deserves the hype. He has led the Boston Celtics to the No. 1 seed in the NBA, leading almost all power rankings.
Regardless of the star power and scoring ability of this team, Tatum still manages to score. His numbers are second to none, and his improvement from years prior is present. Tatum is easily the MVP favorite, and everything indicates he should be on track to earn the accolade.
Statistically speaking, almost nobody matches Tatum. His 30.8 points per game rank 5th in the league, while also having the highest 3-point percentage out of the top 5. Not only this, but out of the top 10 scorers, he ranks 3rd in rebounds at 8.0.
These stats obviously lead the team, with Jaylen Brown being the only contender. However, with Robert Williams III sitting out, he has taken on a bigger rebounding role than his usual. Half of his last 10 games have ended in him having double-digit rebounds, highlighted by a 49-point 11 rebound performance against the Miami Heat.
Impact & Improvement
What makes his game so impressive is his team’s success and his year-by-year improvement. His impact is clear, with his team being the best in the NBA. Boston is on pace to break NBA records on offense, and they are in contention to earn a team average of 50% from the field, 40% from three, and 90% from the line.
The Celtics lead the NBA in points scored per game, three-point percentage, and free throw percentage. They sit at 3rd in field goal percentage by only 0.3%, and could take over at any given moment. The team has benefited from his success and proficient scoring, taking the team over the hump from great to excellent.
His success this year is well-deserved and has been in the works for years. His rookie season had him averaging only 14 points per game as a role scorer, giving a spark when needed. However, the next year he jumped to 15.7, then leaped to 23.4 the next year.
Every year his points per game and rebounding have increased. Even last year he earned an All-NBA nod on the first team, playing some of the best ball in the NBA. This year, he took those stats and one-upped them. 26.9 points per game? Make it 30.8. Shooting 45% from the field? Make it 48%.
Half a block a game? Go ahead and make it more than one. Despite being a top 10 player in the NBA last year, he has turned himself into a different beast during the 2022-23 season and Jayson Tatum might be the early season MVP.