Boston Celtics: Tatum amongst all-time greats in playoff MVP rankings

In Bleacher Report’s latest NBA playoff MVP rankings, Boston Celtics stud Jayson Tatum finds himself amongst some of the game’s all-time elites.

The Boston Celtics have had themselves an unbelievably successful 2019-20 campaign, finishing the season with the league’s fifth-best record of 48-24, their sixth-straight playoff berth, and rostering one of the best cores the NBA currently has to offer.

This regular-season success has seemingly rolled its way into the postseason, as the shamrocks find themselves gearing up for a date against the Miami Heat in their third Eastern Conference Finals appearance in four seasons.

While the team’s high-level of play can be attributed to many different factors — the presence of Kemba Walker, the excellent coaching prowess of Brad Stevens, etc. — perhaps the biggest impact on their impressive campaign has been in the form of the massive strides forward in the career of third-year wing Jayson Tatum.

A first-time All-Star, Tatum managed to up his game to career highs virtually all across the board. Through 66 games played, the 22-year-old managed to put up averages of 23.4 points, seven rebounds, three assists, 1.4 steals, and just shy of a block per game on 45 percent shooting from the floor, and 40 percent shooting from deep.

It was a well-perceived notion that the C’s number one option would come into the playoffs still filling in at this role and guide this team to, frankly, wherever he leads them. So far, this safe hypothesis has sung true as we see Boston riding into round-three with their young stud leading the way.

Through 11 games played thus far, Tatum finds himself boasting stellar averages of 25.3 points, 10.1 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 1.2 blocks a game on 45 percent shooting from the floor and 42 percent shooting from deep.

Behind his leadership and stupendous play, the Boston Celtics are still in realistic contention to take home the Larry O’Brien trophy by the end of 2020. In the eyes of the Houdini, Tatum’s value to his respective team has been rivaled by few others from throughout this postseason and, with Bleacher Report’s latest playoff MVP rankings, it would appear we’re not the only one with this mindset.

On a list consisting of 10 of the best talents to have graced the bubble’s hardwood, B/R writer Greg Swartz places Tatum in at fourth:

While scoring was Tatum’s bread and butter during his first playoff run as a rookie in 2018, he’s become a very good all-around player with his defense, playmaking and rebounding.

His 9.9 net rating is the third-highest among players on this list (LeBron James, Anthony Davis), and Boston has outscored opponents by 83 points in his 438 minutes.

While Tatum has also received plenty of help in carrying the Celtics, from Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown and Kemba Walker, he’s been Boston’s most valuable all-around player now heading into the East Finals against Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat.

Ahead of the likes of James Harden (7th) & Anthony Davis (5th) and just behind LeBron James (2nd) & Kawhi Leonard (1st), the rising star in Jayson Tatum finds himself intertwined with some of the greatest players this game has ever seen.

Known as mainly a phenomenal scorer, this postseason the wing has proven capable of being much more of an all-around player and, in turn, a potential superstar, as he averaged 29 points to go along with eight assists and 13 boards.

His professions throughout this playoff run have certainly not gone unnoticed, and this statement is only strengthened by his place amongst some of the game’s all-time greats.

Next: I.T. reiterates, “If you want to win, put Marcus Smart in”
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