Jayson Tatum picks Giannis Antetokounmpo as best player in NBA

Jayson Tatum's pick for NBA's best player won't surprise you originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Jayson Tatum has established himself as one of the NBA's best, but he isn't yet ready to put himself at the top.

Tatum joined fellow All-Stars Luka Doncic, Ja Morant, and Donovan Mitchell for an interview with ESPN's Malika Andrews. In a clip from the discussion, Andrews asked the Boston Celtics star who he believes is the best player in the NBA right now.

His answer shouldn't come as much of a surprise.

Forsberg: Celtics' health among top storylines entering stretch run

“If I had to pick, I think I might say Giannis (Antetokounmpo),” Tatum told Andrews. “The way he impacts both sides; scoring, rebounding, how hard he plays. We all have off nights, but when he has an off night it’s still 25 and 15 instead of 40 and 20. And, he's won. He's won a championship."

Mitchell agreed with Tatum's assessment. You can watch the clip below:

Antetokounmpo has arguably been Tatum's biggest rival in the Eastern Conference over the last six seasons. The Milwaukee Bucks big man has stood in Tatum's way in the playoffs three times, though the Celtics won two of those series including last year's East semifinal.

Tatum touts Antetokounmpo's numbers to explain his pick, but it really comes down to the Greek Freak having two things he doesn't: an NBA title and an MVP award. Antetokounmpo led the Bucks to a championship in 2021 and earned his two MVP honors in 2019 and 2020.

While Tatum has some work to do to catch Antetokounmpo, he could make some serious progress over the next few months. The Celtics return from the All-Star break with the NBA's best record and currently are the favorites to take home the Larry O'Brien Trophy. If they stay hot over the final 23 games of the regular season, Tatum should be in the MVP conversation. The 24-year-old is averaging 30.6 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 4.5 assists.

Tatum and the C's return to action Thursday night vs. the Indiana Pacers.