2x-League MVP Passed Over for Celtics Star: ‘Can You Carry a Team?’

Jayson Tatum chosen over Giannis

Getty Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks looks over at a teammates against Boston Celtics.

The NBA is riddled with tantalizing young superstars. Yet, what if you had your pick of the crop? Which youngster would you choose to start a team with? The obvious choice for many would be two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. Yet, that’s not the case for ESPN’s Mike Greenberg.

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Greeny on Giannis: ‘4 Players I Would Choose Ahead of Him’

Counting down the top-five players he’d pick to start a franchise with, the Greek Freak kickstarted things, clocking in at No. 5.

“In my opinion, Giannis is five,” Greenberg said on ESPN’s Get Up. “He’s only 26-years-old, he’s a back-to-back MVP and there’s absolutely nothing about him not to love.” A favorable and honest take, were it not for the fact that he essentially followed it up by listing off things that he doesn’t love about the Bucks forward.

“He doesn’t do a lot of things however that you do to win in the NBA today. He doesn’t shoot the three and he isn’t someone who can create his own offense late in close games and that has been their downfall in the playoffs back-to-back years – but at the end of the day there are four players I would choose ahead of him who are that kind of young to start a team with, because at the end of the day can you carry a team to the championship? That’s your only goal. I need to see it from Giannis.”

Jayson Tatum Cracks the List

One of the players to edge out Antetokounmpo on Greeny’s list was Boston Celtics All-Star forward Jayson Tatum, who the ESPN personality went out of his way to dub a “future MVP.”

“I’m going Jayson Tatum at three. He’s 22-years-old, he’ll be 23-years-old in March (Tatum celebrated his birthday on Wednesday),” Greenberg said. “The last two years he’s averaged 24 points, seven boards, four assists, shoots 52% from the floor. In the playoffs he averages 21 points. He has led his team to the conference final a couple of years ago. Tatum is a superstar, he’s a future MVP.”

Greenberg closed things out by noting, “If you wanted to put him at one in this argument, you wouldn’t get a huge fight out of me.”

It’s hard to argue with Greenberg’s take here. While you might question his specific placement on the list, there’s no denying that Tatum is one of the premier young talents in all of basketball.

Despite a rather up and down stretch over the last three games or so, Tatum remains in the midst of his greatest statistical season to date of his professional career. The former Duke Blue Devil has averaged 24.9 points, 6.9 rebounds and 4.4 assists through 30 games. Furthermore, he’s flexed the ice in his veins during crunch time on multiple occasions. This includes this past Sunday, where he scored three straight buckets in the final 50 seconds of regulation to knock off the Washington Wizards.

Joining Tatum and Giannis on Greenberg’s list were Dallas Mavericks All-Star Luka Doncic, New Orleans Pelicans rising star Zion Williamson and Denver Nuggets MVP candidate Nikola Jokic.

You can see the list in its entirety below:


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