Why Eddie House thinks Jayson Tatum is the NBA MVP right now originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum has been selected to the All-NBA First Team in each of the last two seasons, which is a pretty impressive accomplishment. But there's still room for growth in his game.
The next step for Tatum is becoming a top candidate for league MVP. After finishing fourth in the voting in 2022-23, Tatum is on track to be among the top vote-getters this season after a hot start.
Tatum's excellent performance continued Saturday night in Brooklyn when he helped lead the Celtics to a 124-114 win over the Nets by scoring a game-high 32 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. He shot an efficient 10-for-20 from the field, 6-for-10 from 3-point range and a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line. Tatum also became the 10th youngest player in league history and youngest Celtic ever to score 10,000 career points.
Eddie House likes the subtle improvements Tatum has made this season, and even though it's still very early in the season, the ex-Celtics guard views the 25-year-old superstar as the favorite for MVP right now.
"(He's) just taking what defense is giving him. The ony thing about JT is he's not forcing it," House said Saturday night on Celtics Postgame Live. "I think the difference from this year to last year -- it was a lot of forced shots. It was a lot of high pick-and-roll, going against a set defense, trying to get off and forcing things. Now it's coming easy because the spacing is there. I think because he also put that 12 pounds of muscle on that he's able to get to his spot and not have anybody knock him off of his spot. And then knowing how and when to (take over) and when to defer to your teammates, and understanding that your teammates are there to help you.
"If you're saying right now, who would be the MVP of the NBA? It would be him because he is the best player on the best team."
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) November 5, 2023
Tatum is averaging 30.2 points, 9.6 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game, while shooting 55 percent from the field and 45.2 percent on 3-pointers through five games.
He will likely be the MVP favorite if the Celtics finish with the league's best record and he continues to play at or near this level the whole season. Tatum is the engine that drives the NBA's most talented team.