Jayson Tatum on current MVP race: ‘I guess I’ve got some ground to make up’

Boston Celtics superstar Jayson Tatum is gearing up for his fifth All-Star Game this weekend in Indianapolis, but he and his club have bigger ambitions for this season. Winning a title is the ultimate goal for these Celtics, such that individual accolades are meant to take a back seat. That said, Tatum openly admitted this weekend that being in the mix for things like the NBA MVP awards can be very exciting.

For Tatum, however, it’s a complicated situation. He is the top option on the league’s best team. But according to the latest straw poll from ESPN, he isn’t among the leading candidates for winning the MVP award this year. Ahead of the 2024 All-Star Game, Tatum was asked about his place in the conversation and how he feels about the noise that comes with it.

“I think individual awards are important,” Tatum stated. “I’m not going to say that they’re not. But everybody wants to win a championship.”

“But you do want to be rewarded for the work that you put in,” Tatum continued. “For the things that you go there and do on the court.

“As a competitor, as a player, you grew up watching your favorite players win MVPS and First-Team All-NBA and things like that. So, of course, you want to win those things.”

At the time of this writing, Tatum was the sixth choice for the mid-season MVP straw poll conducted by ESPN’s Tim Bontemps. The former Duke Blue Devil understands his team has bigger goals, even if he may dream of hoisting an MVP trophy some day.

“It can’t take precedent over playing the right way and doing things the way they should in order for your team to essentially be the best in the league and have a chance to win a championship.” Tatum explained.

“So,” Tatum said. “Would I love to win? Yes. But apparently losing the Finals two years ago, effects what people think now, I guess I’ve got some ground to make up.”

It has been suggested media members may be considering past playoff performances in assessing the current season’s potential MVP. Apparently, Tatum has seen this reporting, but is taking it in stride.

“But everybody who has a vote votes different,” Tatum said. “The criteria is different and everybody thinks differently, right, wrong or indifferent. It is what it is. You can’t tell people what they should look for when they vote. It’s the beauty of it.”

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Story originally appeared on Celtics Wire