With impactful talent trending younger than ever in the NBA, it should probably not surprise to see the two leading candidates for the 2023 Kia Most Valuable Player award to be a pair of players under age 25 in Boston Celtics superstar forward Jayson Tatum and Dallas Mavericks star forward Luka Doncic.
And with that in mind, Frank Urbina of our sister site HoopsHype wrote up the results of an internal poll of his fellow H/H writers and editors to gauge the state of the talent under age 25 in the league. As we hinted, Tatum is of course on that list, ranked second behind Doncic and just ahead of the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
“Jayson Tatum has put it all together this campaign at an even higher level and is performing like one of the very best players in the world in 2022-23,” writes Urbina.
“Not only does he rank second in the NBA in scoring, but he’s also rebounding and creating at a high level, too, considering his scoring load, and making it rain from beyond the arc,” continues the H/H analyst.
“Even his defense has become a borderline strength, with Tatum playing the best two-way basketball of his career this season. That’s to go with his top-notch one-on-one scoring, where Tatum shines thanks to his tough shot-making, quick first step, and solid ballhandling.”
“Tatum sits in the top 20 percent of the NBA in isolation scoring, creating 1.10 PPP in the difficult play type,” suggests Urbina.
Some analytics — like the VORP and BPM noted by the H/H writer — do not quite see the St. Louis native so favorably.
But as Urbina notes, when you consider how much Tatum does every night, “you can see why many believe he’s the early-season MVP.”
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