Celtics

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

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.

NBA Rumors: Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant won't play for Nets when season resumes

NBA Rumors: Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant won't play for Nets when season resumes

Since the NBA's suspended season has given Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant months to recover from their respective injuries, some believed they could return and make the Brooklyn Nets title contenders.

That theory was put to rest on Friday.

Durant confirmed to ESPN's Marc J. Spears he will not be returning to play when the NBA season resumes in Orlando, Fla. next month. As for Irving, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski says the former Boston Celtics guard suggested on Friday's NBPA conference call it's possible he could join the team... as an inactive player.


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Durant missed the entire 2019-20 campaign after rupturing his Achilles tendon in last year's NBA Finals. Irving underwent surgery in March to repair an impingement in his right shoulder that ended his first season with the Nets after only 20 games.

Brooklyn currently holds the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference with a 30-34 record on the season.

Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck offers thoughts on NBA's 22-team return plan

Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck offers thoughts on NBA's 22-team return plan

On Thursday, the NBA announced a 22-team plan to resume the 2019-20 season in Orlando, Fla.

The plan passed by an overwhelming 29-1 vote among teams, with the Portland Trail Blazers as the only organization to vote against it. Boston Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck, obviously, was one of the many in favor of the plan and discussed why Friday on Felger & Mazz.

"The point that seemed the most fair is not to give a team that was lagging farther behind in the East, and that was for example [the Charlotte Hornets] who are seven games back," Grousbeck said. "In the history of the NBA, no one has ever come from seven games back at this point in the season. And so, it's more fair to say no, we can only take so many teams because of safety.

"We don't want to have 500 more people with all 30 teams. We'd just have more of a chance of getting shut down because of the virus. So there was a line to be drawn, and we all decided 29-1 that this was the most fair line."

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With safety as the No. 1 concern going forward, it's a no-brainer to limit the teams heading down to Walt Disney World to only the ones that can fight for a playoff spot.

Grousbeck also suggested that the Eastern Conference No. 1 seed Milwaukee Bucks could be the C's first opponent when the league returns to action. The Celtics were preparing for a matchup in Milwaukee when the season was suspended in mid-March.

"I think our first game is going to be Milwaukee, which that would be interesting," Grousbeck said. "Because that's what the schedule looks like just from the current schedule. We don't have the new schedule yet. But we'll probably start right off with Milwaukee."

The C's currently have the No. 3 seed in the East as they prepare to return to the court.

You can hear the rest of what Grousbeck had to say in the video above.