Jayson Tatum gives MVP pick, lists best NBA players at each position

The games have stopped, but the debates certainly haven’t.

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum killed some time in self-isolation Wednesday night by going on Instagram Live with basketball skills coach Pep Stanciel.

Stanciel first asked Tatum to name the best player in the NBA, and the 22-year-old deferred to his elder: Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James.

«This is LeBron’s 28th year in the league (editor’s note: 17th season) and he was gonna win MVP,» Tatum said.

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Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo actually was the odds-on favorite to repeat as NBA MVP before the league shut down due to coronavirus on March 11.

But Tatum apparently doesn’t believe Antetokounmpo deserved MVP last season, either.

«James Harden should have won MVP last year,» Tatum said. » … He definitely should have won back-to-back MVPs.»

The Houston Rockets star led the NBA in scoring by a wide margin in 2018-19 (36.1 points per game) but also attempted the most shots and plays a controversial, ball-dominant game.

Still, Tatum thinks James and Harden are the best players at their respective positions right now. Here’s the Celtics star’s All-NBA starting five, after some prodding from Stanciel:

Point Guard: Stephen Curry
Shooting Guard: James Harden
Small Forward: LeBron James
Power Forward: Anthony Davis
Center: Joel Embiid

It’s hard to imagine an All-NBA starting five that doesn’t include Antetokounmpo, but this is an otherwise solid list.

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Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard both get honorable mentions here, as Tatum ranked them as the second- and third-best players in the league behind James. (You could argue Durant is a power forward, but maybe his current injury led Tatum to pick Davis in that category.)

Tatum didn’t name any current or former Celtics — You didn’t think he’d pick ex-teammate Kyrie Irving at point guard, did you? — but no Boston player is even in the conversation right now.

Tatum was on a trajectory to change that before the season went on hold, but for now, we’ll have to settle for his basketball takes over watching him play.

Jayson Tatum gives MVP pick, lists best NBA players at each position originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston