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NBA TV's Steve Smith picks Jayson Tatum as "dark horse" MVP

 My planned article for this morning was going to be Jayson Tatum as "dark horse" NBA MVP for 2022, and guess what? I decided to watch this morning's NBA TV broadcast on the MVP race, and lo and behold, NBA analyst Steve Smith picked Tatum as his candidate to come out of the shadows to win the award this season.


Granted, Smith did project that the Nets' Kevin Durant would actually win the MVA prize, but he cited Jayson's momentum and performance in last season's playoffs - that Tatum was "ripe to take another leap" - and have the wins under his belt.

 It is well-understood that any serious MVP candidate needs major stats and sufficient wins to qualify for the award. Jayson had the numbers last season, but his team finishing in seventh place in the East with a 36-36 record didn't cut it for the rising star.

 So Jayson will have to oust reigning Most Valuable Player, Nikola Jokic, and spar with Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, Luka Doncic - and maybe Damien Lillard and Paul George. But that's why Steve and I labeled him a "dark horse candidate". Could happen, though.


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