Jayson Tatum, Donovan Mitchell Name Giannis Antetokounmpo as NBA's Best Player

Francisco RosaFebruary 23, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - FEBRUARY 19: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of Team Giannis celebrates with the All Star Game Championship Trophy during the NBA All-Star Game as part of 2023 NBA All Star Weekend on Sunday, February 19, 2023 at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2023 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Call it All-Star Game loyalty, but Jayson Tatum and Donovan Mitchell are united in naming Giannis Antetokunmpo as the best player in the league.

In an interview during the All-Star break with ESPN's Malika Andrews that also featured Ja Morant and Luka Dončić, Tatum broke down why he believes the two-time MVP stands above the rest at the moment.

ESPN @espn

Jayson Tatum and Donovan Mitchell pick Giannis Antetokounmpo as the best player in the NBA 👀<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/malika_andrews?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@malika_andrews</a>) <a href="https://t.co/urJA9QnsgE">pic.twitter.com/urJA9QnsgE</a>

"How he impacts both sides, scoring, rebounding, how hard he plays," Tatum said. "We all have off nights but I feel like when he has an off night it's still 25 [points] and 15 [rebounds] instead of 40 and 20. And he's won, he's won a championship."

Antetokounmpo is in the midst of yet another MVP-caliber season for the Milwaukee Bucks, who sit second in the East, only trailing Tatum's Celtics by half a game coming out of the All-Star break.

He is averaging 31..8 points per game—third in the league—to go along with 12.2 rebounds and 5.4 assists. He is the only player in the league that is top five in both scoring and rebounds.

While Nikola Jokić was the leader in ESPN's MVP Straw Poll by a wide margin, Antetokounmpo was the only other player to receive double-digit first-place votes.

Meanwhile, Tatum and Mitchell have both had tremendous seasons in their own right. Tatum sat atop the first straw poll earlier in the year following Boston's hot start to the year.

The Celtics still lead the Eastern Conference at 42-17 behind Tatum's 30.6 points per game.

Mitchell is in his first season with the Cleveland Cavaliers after being traded from Utah and getting an up-close look at Antetokounmpo in the Central Division. He is putting up 27.3 points, 4.9 assists and 4.1 rebounds for the No. 4-seed Cavs.