Boston Celtics’ Jayson Tatum recently weighed in on the NBA MVP race, expressing his views on the contenders and his role within the team.

Despite leading the Celtics, currently holding the NBA’s best record, in scoring, Tatum acknowledges being overshadowed in MVP discussions by players like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Nikola Jokic, and Luka Doncic.

“There’s been a lot of talk about that the last couple days. Those guys are putting up ridiculous numbers every game and doing a lot for their teams. I have no problem with those guys being the leaders of the MVP race. I’m not saying I needed to be first. I just had a problem with some people on TV saying that the reason I won’t win this year is because of something that happened two years ago. That was my only disconnect,” Tatum said.

Tatum emphasized that while he may not have the same scoring output as other MVP candidates, he believes the voters understand the team’s dynamic and the importance of contributions beyond scoring.

“There’s a lot of talented guys in this league right now that’s doing a lot of great things,” he continued. “I won’t have the points per game that the other three, four guys will, but I think the voters are smart enough to understand the dynamic of our team essentially having to do less scoring maybe on certain nights, but still impact the game in a lot of ways to kind of ensure that we win every single night that that we’re in the first place, that we’re trying to be the best team that everybody on the team feels value. That is it’s not just about me because I’m going to need everybody down this stretch. We’re going to need each other for what we’re trying to do, try to win a championship.”

Reflecting on personal growth, Tatum acknowledged the transition from being a primary scorer to prioritizing team success and maximizing the talents of his teammates.

“I’m human. It’s a process,” he said. “I was First Team All-NBA last two years, I averaged 30 [points per game]. Like, the human side, yeah you want to continue to averaged more every year. You see other guys putting up 30-plus a night, you know you can do that.

“But part of growing is understanding what we have in this window trying to maximize that and uplift the guys around me. I think just took some time understand like, I know I can score 30 a night, I know, I did that. But that’s not necessarily what this team needs on a nightly basis.

“So taking that step back in a sense for us to be better. I’ve done everything but win a championship. That’s all I’m going to be judged on at this point in my career. Just doing what it takes to help us get to that point.”

With impressive averages of 27.1 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per game this season, Tatum continues to play a pivotal role in the Celtics’ pursuit of a title.