Celtics’ Jayson Tatum explains why he thinks James Harden should’ve won 2018-19 MVP
Boston Celtics All-Star Jayson Tatum joined ESPN’s The Jump Monday, and—among other things—reiterated his recent comments on Instagram Live that he disagreed with the outcome of the 2018-19 regular-season MVP award. The outcome saw the Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo best the Houston Rockets’ James Harden.
On IG, Tatum said Harden “definitely should have won back to back MVPs.”
He elaborated his stance to Rachel Nichols. He said that while he’s “splitting hairs…when [Harden] scored 30 42 games in a row or something like that, and Chris Paul was hurt a lot and they were dealing with a lot of injuries…what he was doing was pretty remarkable.” (Note: Harden’s streak of 30+ point scoring games was 32).
Watch Nichols catch up with Tatum below.
Jayson Tatum joins #TheJump & says he “hasn’t touched a basketball” since Boston’s last game. We also discussed last year’s MVP (he thinks Harden should have won), food he’s helping get to families in Boston & St. Louis, and if he’s on board with the new nickname “The Problem” pic.twitter.com/Pe0OxboyY2
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) April 13, 2020
Antetokounmpo earned 78 first-place votes in the 2018-19 voting. Meanwhile, Harden received the other 23. Giannis posted a ridiculous 30.4 points, 13.7 rebounds, and 6.5 assists per 36 minutes for the 60-22 Bucks. While Harden followed up his 2017-18 MVP campaign with per-36 averages of 35.4 points and 7.4 assists with .442/.368/.879 shooting splits. He helped drive Houston to a 53-29 record and led the league in Win Shares (15.2 to Giannis’ 14.4).
Giannis topped those numbers this season (34.5 points, 16.0 rebounds, 6.7 assists per 36). And he was the presumed frontrunner to win the award again—and possibly his first Defensive Player of the Year accolade—when the league suspended play. Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James was making a late push for his fifth regular-season MVP award.
Tatum also mentioned that he’s been able to do some cardio and weight training at home, but hasn’t played basketball since the team’s final game vs. the Indiana Pacers on March 10.
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