Why isn’t Jayson Tatum No. 1 in the race for the NBA’s MVP in 2024? It’s a good question, and the answer is a bit puzzling. The Boston Celtics currently have the best record in the NBA. The have a mighty +7.5 game cushion at No. 1 in the Eastern Conference. Moreover, Tatum is the best player on the Celtic. But, he’s not No. 1 in MVP voting. Say what?

The Jayson Tatum MVP Discussion

Tatum has been doing all the right things with the Celtics. He’s, at times, held back for the sake of the team. In my opinion, that’s what it really means to be the MVP. It’s doing what’s right for the team at all costs.

Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors is defending Tatum. He thinks this guy is getting the bum end of the deal.

“So, the MVP race right now, Joker is the leader on DraftKings,” he said on his podcast. “SGA, Luka, Giannis and Tatum are the next four. You know, sometimes it’s like, ‘That team is winning, and that guy is the best player and playing well.’ Clearly, the goalpost has shifted dramatically. Because in this guy’s case, he’s fifth? And they’ve got a seven-and-a-half-game lead? That goalpost is moving on JT. I don’t know what JT gotta do.”

Green added that in order to really be voted MVP, Tatum needs to win a championship. He also pointed out that other MVPs haven’t had to do that to get respect.

“JT will not be taken serious for the MVP until he win a championship,” Green said. “And it just hasn’t been that way for everybody else, I must say. It was not that way for Joker. It was not that way for Giannis. It was not that way for Joel. I mean golly, that’s brutal. Young fella, I don’t know how the goalposts moved on you like that, but they should acknowledge it. Because those are facts.”

Whether or not it should be necessary to land him MVP, Tatum seems set on winning a championship. In all the interviews I’ve seen with the star player, he’s really about the team more than himself. He seems laser-focused on winning a championship for the Celtics. So, it’s kind of neat that his winning a championship for the team might result in him getting the respect he deserves in the MVP race.

So, yes, Tatum might need to win a championship to get that respect. But, the Celtics fans – and I agree with them – don’t like to see the disrespect for this fine player. He should be higher than where he is now in the MVP race. Hopefully the next few weeks will move him up in the race, even before a championship snags it. Others in the top five in the MVP race include Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks, Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks and Domantas Sabonis of the Sacramento Kings. Other notables this season include Donovan Mitchell of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Anthony Edwards of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Kevin Durant of the Phoenix Suns.