After leading the Boston Celtics to a perfect 3-0 start to the season, Jayson Tatum earned Player of the Week honors for the Eastern Conference after multiple standout performances as the Celtics began their Eastern Conference title defense.
Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard and Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum have been named the NBA Western and Eastern Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for Week 1 of the 2022-23 season (Oct. 18-23). pic.twitter.com/WNEKmxefjF— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) October 24, 2022
One of the biggest criticisms of Jayson Tatum is that he typically starts seasons on the slower end. He’ll have a few good performances here and there, but since this third season in the league, he really comes alive around February where he looks like the second coming of Larry Bird and Paul Pierce combined.
To earnestly earn MVP consideration, Tatum will need to A) play like that all year instead of over just two or three months and B) have the Celtics near or at the top of the standings. So far, he’s making good on that.
Tatum averaged 34.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 3.0 assists on 58.7% shooting. That’s insane. He shot 33% from behind the 3-point line and 88% from the free-throw line. Add to those totals 1.0 steals and 1.7 blocks, and you have a well-rounded performance on both ends of the floor.
Tatum (along with his co-star Jaylen Brown) led Boston to a perfect week with wins over two playoff teams and an upstart team in Orlando (with wins against the 76ers, in Miami and in Orlando). Tatum also made franchise history on Saturday after scoring 104 points in his first three games – the only Celtic to eclipse 100 points over the first three games of the season.
He’s that guy.
In the Western Conference, Damian Lillard earned Player of the Week after leading the Portland Trail Blazers to an equally perfect 3-0 start, including two back-to-back 41-point games. He also averaged 34 points to go with 5.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists.
Other candidates for Player of the Week in the West included Devin Booker (PHX), Stephen Curry (GSW), De’Aaron Fox (SAC), Nikola Jokić (DEN), Lauri Markkanen (UTA), CJ McCollum and Zion Williamson (NOP) and Ja Morant (MEM).
Tatum had less competition in the East, with only Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL), Paolo Banchero (ORL), Donovan Mitchell (CLE) and Pascal Siakam (TOR) getting nods.
Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics are back in action tonight against the Chicago Bulls.