Let's get this out of the way: Giannis Antetokounmpo is the clubhouse leader to win his first NBA MVP award this season.
In leading the Bucks to a league-best 48-8 record, the Greek Freak is averaging 30 points and 13.6 rebounds per game.
But there's another player who might be forcing his way into the conversation, at least according to Kendrick Perkins: Jayson Tatum.
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The 21-year-old is blossoming into an NBA superstar before our very eyes, tying his career high with 41 points in a loss to the Lakers Sunday afternoon at the Staples Center.
How good was Tatum? Jaylen Brown called his performance "surreal." LeBron James called him an "ABSOLUTE PROBLEM." But Perk went even further on ESPN's "Get Up" Monday morning.
"He is a superstar in the making. Listen — Jayson Tatum overnight went from an All-Star to possibly in the MVP conversation," Perkins said. "When you watch Jayson Tatum, before the All-Star break, he killed the Clippers and Kawhi Leonard. Flat-out outplayed them. And then you watched him last night, he was putting on a clinic all across the board. He was in his suitcase. Not his bag. He was in his suitcase."
Tatum's 41-point outburst was the latest in a string of eye-opening performances where the first-time All-Star has taken his game to another level. In February, he's averaging 29.7 points and 7.4 rebounds per game on 48.3 percent shooting (46.8 percent from 3-point land).
Will that make him an MVP candidate? Not this year, but if this trajectory continues, the sky is the limit for Tatum. And if so, Celtics fans will really love how Perkins concluded his thought.
"When you look at Jayson Tatum, I wouldn't be surprised if this kid would be a Celtic for life."
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