Early-season MVP talk hasn’t been a distraction, Celtics star Jayson Tatum told reporters, including Dana Scott of The Arizona Republic, in a media session before tonight’s game in Phoenix. Boston has the best record in the league at 20-5 and Tatum ranks fourth in scoring at 30.8 PPG, so he’s a natural candidate for the award but he’s not focused on it.
“It’s something that I’m aware of, but I think a lot of it has to do with our team’s success,” Tatum said. “I think I keep playing the way I am and everybody individually, and we keep complementing each other the way we are, and continue to win, then everybody’s going to get individually what they deserve. So I guess the main focus is to keep trying to be one of the best teams and keep trying to win and just get closer to our ultimate goal of getting back to the finals.”
There’s more on the Celtics:
- Blake Griffin isn’t playing regularly, but he has been effective whenever Boston has needed him, writes Jared Weiss of The Athletic. With Robert Williams injured, Griffin has been sharing center duties with Luke Kornet as backups to Al Horford. Griffin is only averaging 14.7 minutes in nine games, but his teammates rave about what he provides whenever he’s on the court. “To be able to see him come out and give the energy he’s been giving us, that’s all you can ask for,” Marcus Smart said. “It’s no wonder why everyone loves Blake. It’s no wonder why he’s on this team and he’s still here in this league. He understands what it takes to be a vet.”
- Jaylen Brown, who was left out of the All-Star Game last season, questioned the league’s system for choosing reserves in an interview with Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson of Bally Sports. “I think it should be more exclusive in regards to the decision-making that goes into the process because, to be honest, we have no idea how we make it,” Brown said. “We make it and then they say that there’s this large process, but the (players) union isn’t involved at all. So, as players and representatives of the organizations, I think that definitely we should have some say so.”
- Joe Mazzulla talked to Marc J. Spears of Andscape about the challenges of being thrown unexpectedly into a head coaching role with one of the league’s best teams, offering an interesting perspective when asked about the possibility of having his interim label removed. “Whether you’re the interim or not, you’re always the interim,” Mazzulla said. “It goes back to what is the truth. The truth of the matter is it’s just a name. And whether I have a five-year deal or a one-year deal, I can be gone at any time.”