Boston Celtics

Kevin Durant has very high praise for Jayson Tatum ahead of Celtics-Suns

"He's one of those guys that's likely going to control the league for the next 10, 12 years."

NBC Universal, Inc.

Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics earned an impressive road win over Kevin Durant and the Phoenix Suns last Saturday. On Thursday night at TD Garden, Durant will try to return the favor.

The final Celtics-Suns clash of the regular season represents a great test for both teams as the playoff push intensifies. It's also a tremendous opportunity for fans to watch two of the sport's best players -- Tatum and Durant -- put on a show.

Durant scored 45 points with 10 rebounds in a 117-107 loss to the C's last weekend. Tatum poured in 29 points with 10 rebounds and seven assists as the C's snapped their two-game losing streak.

Durant is in his 16th NBA season, and it's remarkable how well he's playing at age 35. He's still a top 10 player, but the two-time Finals MVP also recognizes that the game has a lot of elite young players who will carry the sport forward for a long time.

Durant believes Tatum is in that group.

"I've been in this league a long time now and I know when it's a passing of the guard," Durant told reporters Wednesday, per Duane Raskin of AZCentral.

"I know when the young dudes are going to come in and do the same thing the older guys are doing. (Tatum is) one of those guys that's likely going to control the league for the next 10, 12 years and be a staple in our game and the history of our game."

Tatum is putting together an MVP-caliber season, even though he's likely a long shot to win the award. The Celtics forward is averaging 27 points, 8.4 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game, while shooting 47.3 percent from the floor and 37.5 percent from 3-point range. His defense has been fantastic, too.

What makes Tatum an MVP-caliber player?

"Just his consistency all year, putting up a high number of points -- stats matter when it comes to MVP," Durant said, per Rankin.

"His team is winning games, most importantly, by a landslide. I think they're seven games up as the No. 1 seed over everybody. The (win/loss) record factors in, too. He's had MVP-caliber seasons the last few years, too, so it's just a matter of narrative at this point."

Winning the MVP would be great for Tatum's resume, but both he and the Celtics have larger goals, most notably winning Banner 18. The Celtics' 2023-24 season will be judged on whether they accomplish that objective, and so far, they are definitely on the right track.

Contact Us