Boston Celtics: Jayson Tatum is an MVP hiding in plain sight

Jayson Tatum (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Jayson Tatum (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Last season, the Boston Celtics lost the NBA Finals in six games, and Jayson Tatum had an underwhelming performance that still lingers to this day. The Celtics’ inability to provide help for Jaylen Brown and Robert Williams, combined with a lack of consistent shooting, resulted in a loss at the TD Garden that left Celtic Nation both enraged and disappointed that championship No. 18 would not be raised.

Additionally, the passing of Bill Russell only added to the pain that the Boston Celtics had endured this offseason, along with Head Coach Ime Udoka being suspended for the entire season and Joe Mazzulla taking his place.

Despite a tough start, Jayson Tatum has taken a step in the right direction.

Fast forward to this year, and it appears that No. 0 has taken a step towards righting that wrong, so much so that he should be considered an MVP candidate that many are sleeping on.

It might be for the better. Given what happened in June, this could be the best thing that’s happened to Tatum in a while, and this time, he has better reinforcements. Jaylen Brown is already a made man along with Robert Williams, but the addition of Malcolm Brogdon off the bench has provided more versatility to the Celtics lineup.

However, at 6-4 following back-to-back losses, there is a bit of concern that shouldn’t be taken lightly, primarily when championship expectations reside in a town proud of its history.

Sure, having an interim coach in Joe Mazzulla can cause a few growing pains. Still, with Ime Udoka out after everything that has transpired in the offseason, it’s incumbent on the players to step up and steady the ship because, as many have speculated and often validated, it’s a players’ league.

Jayson Tatum must do more for the rest of the season to right the wrongs of last year’s disappointing finish for the Boston Celtics.

The Celtics may have gotten off to a rocky start, but they will go as far as Jayson Tatum will take them, and last year showed that if he can be consistent, the team has a shot at making a legitimate run. Game 7 against the Miami Heat is the prime example.

Despite nearly blowing the game in the waning seconds, the aggression and the “Mamba Mentality” that Tatum showed for much of the contest played a prominent role in Boston being able to finish the job and keep Jimmy Butler and co. from advancing to the NBA Finals.

Unfortunately, running into Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and their friends wasn’t a good idea, and the Celtics were left to deal with a second-place finish. Still, the season was a remarkable story until the last chapter. But that can be changed if Tatum has anything to say about it. The season is still early, but it looks like Boston’s next star player is on a mission to rewrite the narrative, which goes a long way.

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There’s a lot of the season left to be played, and Jayson Tatum will have ample opportunities to fix his mistakes, especially if Boston makes the postseason again. Right now? He looks pretty good, but it’s not how you start; it’s how you finish.