Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum is the top candidate to earn MVP honors this season according to the latest straw poll conducted by ESPN’s Tim Bontemps. Tatum would become the first Celtic since Larry Bird in 1986 to win the newly minted Michael Jordan trophy if these results hold.
The methodology for the poll is straightforward, and features an approximation of the voting pool that will ultimately decided the MVP results in the spring. Bontemps is likely to again conduct several iterations of the poll this season, though the first results are certainly telling nonetheless.
Tatum was on 98 of 100 ballots and earned 47 first-place votes. This put him ahead of Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo and Dallas’ Luka Doncic by a slim margin.
In a discussion on the Hoop Collective Podcast, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said he wasn’t surprised by the results. He believes Tatum wants to win the award, and may go “hunting” for it down the stretch.
Tatum is averaging 30.2 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game. The Celtics own the best record in the NBA at 22-7, and are about to set off on a seven-game home stand.
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Story originally appeared on Celtics Wire