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  • Writer's pictureBen Ballard

Jayson Tatum’s 2023 NBA Season: MVP Candidate?

As the 2023 NBA season unfolds, let’s take a look at how the Celtic’s perennial MVP candidate is performing. The Celtics are off to a hot 16–5 start. But how does his season stack up against his previous career stats? Is he a legitimate MVP candidate? Let’s break down the data.

Tatum’s scoring ability has been a hallmark of his career, and the 2023 season is no different. He’s currently averaging 27.5 points per game. Tatum has impressively elevated his career averages for points, asists, and rebounds for the first 6 years he’s been in the league. So far this year he’s not quite matching the figures from the 2022–23 campaign. Tatum isn’t just about scoring, he’s increased his contributions in other facets of the game since his rookie year. While assists have seen a dip from last year, like Points, his Rebounding is nearly at 2022 levels.

Jason Tatum's MVP case really would be boosted by his improvement in his field goal shooting efficiency. He’s posting a career-best field goal percentage of 50%, which is notably higher than his career average of approximately 45%. The last two years he's shown improvement there, an impressive trend in year 7 of his career.

His three-point shooting has remained consistent at around 35%, and his Free Throw percentage has so far taken a dip this season — but his overall shooting efficiency has undoubtedly been a standout feature.

While Tatum’s free throw percentage this season (78.9%) is slightly below his career average of 84.6%, it’s still respectable and contributes to his overall scoring.

So, the big question remains: Is Jayson Tatum a legitimate MVP candidate this year? The answer is a resounding yes. I think his consistency is one of the things that is making a big difference this year. The chart on the bottom left shows his field goal percentage for all games, except 2023, and the chart on the right is for the 2023 season. From here we can see that his field goal percentages are much more consistent, he’s only posting field goal percentages in the high 30s — all the way up to the 60s. He’s not having sub 35% field goal games this season.

While he faces stiff competition from other NBA stars, Tatum’s impact on his team’s success and his individual statistics make a compelling case. If he continues at this pace, he could very well find himself in the MVP conversation as the season progresses.

Jayson Tatum’s 2023 NBA season has been nothing short of impressive. He’s living up to his reputation and elevating his game through efficiency to new heights. We’ll keep an eye on Tatum as he vies for MVP honors and leads the Celtics on their quest for success in the NBA.

I wrote about Luka Doncic and his MVP case in an earlier post. How do these two compare to you? What am I not considering?

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