Knicks Star Sounds Off on Jayson Tatum

Jayson Tatum is facing a lot of criticism, but New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson came to his defense.
Oct 25, 2023; New York, New York, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) is guarded by New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) while trying to make a pass in the fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 25, 2023; New York, New York, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) is guarded by New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) while trying to make a pass in the fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports / Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks are watching from afar as the Boston Celtics are up 3-1 in the 2024 NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks.

Despite their commanding lead, Celtics star Jayson Tatum is receiving a boatload of criticism for not being the team's best player throughout the series. While he played well in the Celtics' Game 3 win, scoring 31 points, Tatum has scored under 20 in each of the other three games.

Tatum is not on pace to win Finals MVP, and Knicks guard Jalen Brunson believes the critics will continue to spout off until he wins the award.

"The narrative for Jayson is like, he has this great team around him, he should be in MVP talks, he should be Finals MVP ... I think for him to escape that narrative from the media ... they're not gonna stop until he wins a Finals MVP," Brunson told Bleacher Report's Taylor Rooks.

Jaylen Brown is the likely Finals MVP if Tatum doesn't win it. He's averaged 21.8 points per game so far during the series and has come up in major moments for the team. Jrue Holiday is also a candidate after making a massive impact on both ends of the floor.

Haters and critics will always be around, even for the best of the best, and the only way to quiet them is to win. That's the biggest knock on Tatum's career so far. He's been a bridesmaid many times, reaching the Eastern Conference Finals or better in five of his seven seasons, but never winning the Finals.

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry received a similar amount of criticism in his career by not winning the Finals MVP award. In 2015, Curry's first championship, Andre Iguodala took home the honor. In 2017 and 2018, it was Kevin Durant. But, in 2022, Curry finally grabbed the elusive Finals MVP trophy against Tatum's Celtics, and that elevated his career legacy by achieving that next level.

Tatum is close to that goal, but Brunson is right. The critics will still be loud until he shows up and wins on the biggest stage in the game.

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Jeremy Brener

JEREMY BRENER

Jeremy Brener is an editor, writer and social media manager for several Fan Nation websites. His work has also been featured in 247 Sports and SB Nation as a writer and podcaster. Brener has been with Fan Nation since 2021. Brener grew up in Houston, going to Astros, Rockets and Texans games as a kid. He moved to Orlando in 2016 to go to college and pursue a degree. He hosts "The Dream Take" podcast covering the Rockets, which has produced over 350 episodes since March 2020. Brener graduated in May 2020 from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor's degree in Broadcast Journalism minoring in Sport Business Management. While at UCF, Brener worked for the school's newspaper NSM.today and "Hitting the Field," a student-run sports talk show and network. He was the executive producer for "Hitting the Field" from 2019-20. During his professional career, Brener has covered a number of major sporting events including the Pro Bowl, March Madness and several NBA and NFL games. As a fan, Brener has been to the 2005 World Series, 2010 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 NCAA National Championship between the Villanova Wildcats and North Carolina Tar Heels. Now, Brener still resides in the Central Florida area and enjoys writing, watching TV, hanging out with friends and going to the gym. Brener can be followed on Twitter @JeremyBrener. For more inquiries, please email jeremybrenerchs@gmail.com.