Celtics star Jayson Tatum upset with lack of MVP award momentum

Boston Celtics superstar Jayson Tatum's recent comments suggest he deserves more recognition in the MVP voting process.

2024 NBA All-Star - Practice
2024 NBA All-Star - Practice / Stacy Revere/GettyImages
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Typically, the general rule for MVP voting in professional sports is to pick the best player on the best team.

However, that rule doesn’t apply in this year’s NBA MVP voting.

Sitting at 43-12, the Boston Celtics stand alone as the NBA’s top team up and through the 2024 All-Star Weekend.

The Celtics have dominated this season, with premier two-way wing Jayson Tatum leading the team.

Yet, Tatum finds himself on the outside looking into the current race for the league’s most prestigious individual honor, ranking sixth in ESPN’s latest NBA MVP straw poll results.

While Tatum is in the mix for a spot on the voting ballot, his zero first-place votes imply he isn’t regarded as a legitimate contender to win the award.

Players listed behind him on the poll, such as New York Knicks point guard Jalen Brunson and Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards earned first-place votes for their efforts this season and contributions to team success, but why doesn’t Tatum?

Jayson Tatum blames playoff woes for lack of MVP love

Tatum suggests that his shortcomings during the Celtics march to the NBA Finals in 2021-22 may have something to do with.

“Us losing the Finals two years ago affects what people think of me now, so I guess I’ve got some ground to make up,” Tatum told CLNS Media.

Is Tatum right to feel this way? If so, is it fair to hold Tatum’s playoff woes from years ago against him in this season’s MVP voting?

In 52 games played this year, Tatum has averaged 27.1 points, shooting 47.5 percent from the floor and making 36.3 of his attempts from beyond the arc, adding 8.6 rebounds, 4.8 assists, and one steal per contest.

He has the gaudy counting stats to pair with solid efficiency metrics and his team’s success, yet Tatum finds himself far behind the top four candidates of Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Oklahoma City Thunder), Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks), and Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks).

Does Tatum deserve more attention in the 2023-24 NBA MVP discussion? 

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