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Extreme Knower Of Ball Stephen A Smith Declares That Jayson Tatum Should Be Leading The MVP Race

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What makes the NBA MVP so tough every season is there is no consistent formula or criteria a player has to follow or meet in order for them to win. One season it's the player with the best stats, the next season winning and team success matters, the next season that stuff doesn't matter as long as the player is having a historical season. You start hearing people bring in postseason performance in an attempt to justify a regular season award. The whole charade is a bit of a disaster, and that's never changing.

Now with the 65 game limit rule, that's obviously going to impact this award moving forward. Make no mistake, if Joel Embiid was not injured right now and he hit that 65 game mark at the end of the season, the MVP was his. I think anyone who has objectively watched his season this year can agree with that. 

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But he isn't healthy, and he won't hit that 65 game mark, which means he's out. It sucks, but that's life. With that news meant we had to recalibrate the MVP group a little bit, and if you listen to Stephen A, he has a certain guy leading the pack

Listen, who am I do tell Stephen A he's wrong here? I'll take all the national media narrative boosts I can get for an award that is extremely narrative based. If we're talking about the best player on the best team, there is absolutely know debate who that is. That player is Jayson Tatum. So if by going by that criteria, here's how I view Stephen A's take

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Unfortunately, even I can admit that Tatum pretty much has no shot, regardless of how the Celts finish this regular season and how Tatum plays. Now that Embiid is out, this is a Jokic vs SGA debate with a little bit of Giannis mixed in. All you have to do is look at the most recent MVP straw man poll that came out the other day

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I mean Tatum isn't even close. In fact, we live in a world where Jalen Brunson and Anthony Edwards got more 1st place votes than Jayson Tatum, which just goes to show you how insane this whole process is. Both of those guys are great no doubt about it, but they are not better than Jayson Tatum and they do not play on a better team than Jayson Tatum.

The point is, even if Stephen A's overall point has some merit, I just can't see it happening. Look at that total points gap. It's not like the Celts just started being awesome, they've been the most dominant team in the NBA since the very first day of the 2023-24 NBA season. Has it mattered? Nope.

The thing is, it's perfectly fine. I could care less that Tatum isn't top 5 in this MVP race and he most likely won't win it despite having another awesome season for the best team in the NBA. A younger me would DEFINITELY care about it, but when you've elevated into the tier that the Celts have, literally the only thing that matters is winning the NBA title. Winning a regular season MVP is cool and all, but you know what's cooler?

A Finals MVP.

It's similar to how I don't give a shit that Porzingis and White got snubbed for the All Star game either. Let other players and other fanbases worry about this type of shit, the goal of the Celts and every player on the roster is much higher. Do I think it would be awesome if Tatum won it? Maybe, but not until he has a title first. 

Why?

Well, recent NBA history suggests that winning the NBA regular season MVP is a bit of a kiss of death when it comes to that player actually winning the title. In fact, not since 2014-15 has a player won the MVP and the title in that same season. In fact, since 2000, it's only happened 3 times, and 2 of them came via LeBron. 

Given the fact that the Celts and Tatum are still looking for their first title together, I have no problem if someone like Jokic or SGA or Giannis wins it this year. Go nuts. I prefer to enter a playoff run with as few "jinx's" as possible, even if that's just my deranged brain doing its thing. The Celts punched the 40/20 rule a few games ago and that's good enough for me. Give me that box checked and a good run of health and that should be all this team needs. 

So while I appreciate what Stephen A is doing, and I agree with his reasoning, it's OK to be realistic here and acknowledge that Jayson Tatum will not win the MVP this year.