This NBA star labels Celtics' Jayson Tatum as ‘next face' of the NBA


Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum is playing at an elite level over the last three months, and he's even muscled his way into the NBA MVP debate as a result.

He's still unlikely to win the award -- Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic are the clear favorites -- but the fact that Tatum is now in that conversation is still quite noteworthy. 

Tatum is averaging 33.6 points per game and shooting 46.7 percent from 3-point range in March. The Celtics, unsurprisingly, have a 10-1 record this month and find themselves just 1.5 games out of first place in the Eastern Conference standings.

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How much higher can Tatum elevate his game?

One prominent star thinks the Celtics forward could become the next face of the league.

“And to see the success he's had, I forget that he’s as young as he is. He’s been around me forever, right? I’ve known Jayson since he was in diapers. I’ve known him forever," Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal said on The Draymond Green Show podcast.

"And to see him now -- I’m barely growing my beard much -- Jay got a full beard. To see him grow into this young man, bro -- he’s the next face of the league, and I told him that that is your goal.

"He has a great support system. He's got a lot of people who push him around and uplift him — his mom being No. 1. But I always tell him, you are the face of this league. You have that opportunity to be the face of the league. Don't shy away from any endorsement, don't shy away from any money thrown your way. Whatever the league wants to do, do it. This is your league, bro. You're already playing at an elite level. You need to get your name in MVP talks every year because you have that ability."

Becoming the face of the league would be a huge step for Tatum, and with the sport having so many great young stars -- plus veterans like Kevin Durant and LeBron James still performing at a high level -- the competition for that honor will be fierce.

But Tatum does have plenty of things working in his favor. He's obviously supremely talented, he plays for a historic franchise in a major market, and he already has plenty of endorsements. 

Ultimately, Tatum will need to help the Celtics reach the NBA Finals and win a championship if he's going to be the face of the league. It's hard to be that player without enjoying lots of success on the biggest stage. But given the way the Celtics have played the last three months, that postseason success come sooner than later.

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