5 Celtics who are exceeding expectations, 2 underperforming at midway point of season

The Celtics are title contenders with these players performing unexpectedly.
Boston Celtics, Jayson Tatum, Jrue Holiday
Boston Celtics, Jayson Tatum, Jrue Holiday / Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
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Exceeding expectations: Jayson Tatum

Tatum is about to make this fifth All-Star appearance and remains in the MVP hunt. He was sixth in the latest MVP Ladder. Games played will be a massive factor in the end-of-season awards. The 25-year-old has only missed three contests in the first half of the season. Staying healthy significantly improves his odds of being on first-team All-NBA and winning the Most Valuable Player.

Tatum’s numbers are slightly down from last season, but being the best player on the top team in the league means he is exceeding expectations. It is championship or bust for the Celtics this season. So far so good. He is shooting a career-high 47.7 percent from the field and remains one of the world’s best scorers.

Tatum is 11th in VORP and 12th in win shares this season. He remains elite. It may not be enough to win MVP, but the Celtics would prefer a championship and Tatum would be the frontrunner for Finals MVP if Boston brings home the title.

The Boston Celtics are rolling at the midway point of the regular season with 32 wins. Will they hang banner number 18 in 2024? They are among the favorites, so stay tuned to see how it all shakes out.