Top 5 unchanged, but Jayson Tatum lurking on NBA Most Improved Player Ladder

Boston Celtics Jayson Tatum (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)
Boston Celtics Jayson Tatum (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images) /
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NBA Most Improved Player Ladder Jayson Tatum
Boston Celtics Jayson Tatum (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /

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Jayson Tatum had already made big strides in his third NBA season before turning up the dial to “ridiculous” over the last four weeks.

As the Boston Celtics have gone 9-2 since Feb. 1, Tatum has been on a personal tear as well. He’s averaged 30.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.2 blocks and 1.1 steals in 36.6 minutes per game over that stretch, shooting 51.4 percent overall and sizzling at 50.0 percent on 8.7 3-point attempts per game.

Included in his hot stretch have been six games with at least 30 points, including matching his career-high with 41 in a two-point loss on the road to the Lakers on Sunday, three double-doubles and a career-high eight 3-points in Tuesday’s win at the Portland Trail Blazers, less than three weeks after setting a new career-high with seven triples in a win over the Atlanta Hawks on Feb. 7.

In 54 games this season, Tatum is averaging 23.3 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.3 steals in 34.3 minutes per game — career-highs in every category — while shooting 45.3 percent overall and 39.8 percent on 7.0 deep tries a night.

Tatum’s scoring average has increased nearly two points per game, from 21.5 points per game, over this most recent stretch, which is a level of increase not often achieved in a dozen or so games after half a season is already in the books.