Is it too early to talk about NBA MVP? I do not think so. In fact, we have passed a quarter of the season. It’s still early, but it’s gone what early. We know, for example, that the Cleveland Cavaliers made a dynamite decision by betting all-in on Donovan Mitchell. We’ve seen enough to say for sure. If you think Mitchell was the start of the season MVP, I won’t argue with you. I agreed with you a week ago.
Sane people could also bet for Luka Doncic, the league’s leading scorer, or Giannis Antetokounmpo, the only player to average 25-10-5, or Stephen Curry, who was probably the best player this season. But the Warriors are under .500. In a month’s time, when Golden State has narrowed the rotation and at least stopped dropping catastrophically on the bench, Curry will be my choice to become the MVP leader.
Ja Morant deserves some noise.
But for me right now, Jason Tatum is on pole position. He’s too much right now. In 24 hours, Tatum just beat Denver and Detroit with 77 points, 18 rebounds and 8 assists in a row – the last of which he scored 43 and 10 boards in a win over the Pistons on Saturday. He did it from everywhere on the court.
With those seven three-pointers on Saturday, Tatum overtook Stephen Curry for most three-pointers in November (28). True, he raised them much more (76 versus 48 for Curry), but that’s good. Tatum continues to hone his shot chart. He started Saturday’s game with 73 percent of his shots either from outside the arc or from outside four feet. This is the highest rim/3 frequency of his career, according to Cleaning the Glass.
Tatum also hits the free throw line at a career-high pace. After 10 more attempts on Saturday, he gets up to nine free games. When this nimble shooter hits that volume out of three, at the free-throw line and at the rim (where he finishes with close to 80 percent accuracy, another career high), you start venturing into unstoppable territory. – that’s exactly what Tatum has been doing lately, who now leads the league in total points with over 50 percent of the floor.
Check the numbers in full.
Jason Tatum this season:
➼ 32.3 points per game
➼ 7.2 RPG
➼ 4.0 gal per gallon
➼ 27 moves + blocks
➼ 50% full scale
➼ 38.5% 3P
➼ 87.1% ft
➼ 2 games for 40+ points
➼ 8 games for 30+ points
Celtics have 0.5 GB of NBA best record
Most Valuable Player? pic.twitter.com/wqZd3xwWHy
— EMPIRE OF CIRCLE (@HoopsEmpire_) November 13, 2022
Tatum has addressed all one-off issues in his game. Ending problems? Not anymore. Trouble approaching the free throw line? Not anymore. Settling for too many mid-range jumpers? Not anymore. Limited as a playmaker? Not anymore. Tatum is in complete control of his game and parquet. He is patient but aggressive, noticeably stronger and more persistent in picking up the pace and going from contact to finish from coast to coast. Since the defense will naturally move to his side of the court, he will let you go to hell. He did it on several possessions against Detroit. He has all the defenses now and plays them all to the MVP level tune.