OK Day 435873 of quarantine and we have ourselves another NBA player ranking discussion. You may remember the previous editions of this blog
and now it's Jayson Tatum's turn. Some pretty good soundbites in that clip, I don't think anyone can really argue that LeBron is the best player in the NBA right now as Tatum suggests. Even as an admitted LeBron hater, I cannot hate on his 25.7/7.9/10.6 on 49/35% shooting on a team that has the second best record in the league in his Year 17 season. Until there's no more LeBron in the league, he's going to be the best player. Period. He then went KD and Kawhi, two decent choices as well.
I did find it interesting though that Tatum is of the belief that Harden should have won the MVP over Giannis last year, which I'm pretty sure makes him every Rockets fan's favorite player that doesn't play in HOU. If there's one thing this quarantine does NOT need it another Giannis vs Harden 2019 MVP debate so I'm not going to do it here. But what I am interested in is Tatum's list of his ideal starting five/best player at each position. He went
Point Guard: Steph Curry
Shooting Guard: James Harden
Small Forward: LeBron James
Power Forward: Anthony Davis
Center: Joel Embiid
Not much room to argue with these selections but it's hard to notice there's no Giannis in there. The tricky part is LeBron is clearly the Lakers point guard, but most likely won't even be classified as a point guard for All NBA so you pretty much have to put him in Giannis' spot. It's not like Tatum could say LeBron is the best player in the NBA and then not have him in his starting five so that's some tough shit for Giannis.
Out of all the Top 5 rankings that we've had during this quarantine I'd say this is the most accurate. It's not like when Ben Simmons said Rudy Gobert isn't a Top 5 defender or Trae Young put Steve Nash in is Top 5 all time. I simply don't know who you remove from Tatum's choices here. A healthy Steph is for sure the best point guard in the league, Harden while you may hate his style is an MVP candidate and scoring machine, LeBron is LeBron, AD is by far the best power forward in basketball, and even if you wanted to go with someone like Jokic at center, the reality is Embiid is 10x the defender and pretty unstoppable when healthy.
So now I'll ask you. Outside of Tatum's belief about Harden's MVP snub, how would you rate his starting lineup? Where did he go wrong?