Stephen A. Smith Sounds Off on Celtics Jayson Tatum: ‘A Superstar in This League’

Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics

Getty Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics and Jayson Tatum are both receiving a significant amount of praise to begin the new season, with the St. Louis native widely expected to challenge for the MVP award due to his impressive improvements on both sides of the floor.

Speaking on a November 30 episode of ESPN’s First Take, Stephen A. Smith threw his weight behind Tatum in the MVP discussion, labeling Boston’s star wing as a ‘true superstar in this league.’

“I will officially, on national television, throw Jayson Tatum into that conversation for the Boston Celtics. If you don’t know, you should ask somebody. This brother is special. And, he is putting on a show and trying to make amends for his struggling performance in the NBA Finals. But Jayson Tatum is a superstar in this league and he plays like one. Night in, night out basis, you got to contend with that brother. I put him right there,” Smith said.

Usually known for his slow starts to a new season, Tatum has come out of the gates hot, and is currently second in the NBA for points per game, and third in total points scored. Through his first 21 games of the new season, Tatum is averaging 31.6 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game while shooting 36.6% from deep and 58.9% from two-point range. 

Malcolm Brogdon Expects Tatum to be MVP Front Runner

Speaking to the media following Boston’s November 30 victory over the Miami Heat, Malcolm Brogdon shared his belief that Tatum is currently leading the MVP conversation due to his impressive performances on the team with the best record in the NBA.

“It’s incredible, man. We’ve gotten to play him a good amount in my career and he’s taken a giant step every year. And to play the way he did last year, to be in the MVP race at times last year, and then to take the jump he’s taken this year has been pretty incredible to watch. Undoubtedly, he should be leading the MVP race right now. He’s playing at a superstar level,” Brogdon said.

Tatum isn’t the only player competing to win an individual award though, as Brogdon’s own impressive performances have seen him begin to enter discussions for the Sixth Man of the Year award. 

Chris Forsberg Labels Tatum an MVP Contender

On November 12, Tatum helped the Celtics overcome the Detroit Pistons in a game that saw the Celtics compete without the help of Jaylen Brown, Al Horford, and Malcolm Brogdon, dropping 43 points, pulling down 10 rebounds, and dishing out three assists while shooting 50% from the field and from the perimeter.

Speaking on his NBC Sports Boston post-game show, Forsberg noted his belief that Tatum is currently playing at an MVP level, and will be a genuine contender for the award later in the season.

“The Celtics were missing an entire starting five worth of talent tonight, and Jayson Tatum went out there on the second night of a back-to-back and played 40-plus minutes, and absolutely carried them to a win that at times didn’t seem so assured. To me, it’s a two-man conversation right now, it’s Giannis and it’s Tatum because of the impact on both ends…He leads his team to victories on nights where you just don’t have any other option and gets them to the finish line,” Forsberg said. 

The Celtics will be back in action on December 2, when they face off against the Miami Heat.