Bill Simmons ranks Shai Gilgeous-Alexander higher than Jayson Tatum
Bill Simmons made some waves this week declaring on SiriusXM NBA Radio that Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has surpassed Jasyon Tatum and is the better player. Simmons, who was originally known as the Boston Sports Guy, tends to be called a Boston homer by fans of every team, but the Celtics, while on the flip side is called a Celtics hater by Green Teamers.
When comparing Tatum and Shai, your talking about two great players, so whichever order you have them in, isn't really a major disrespect to the other. Here's Simmons' rationale:
"SGA is a top-five guy in the league. Somebody had to go and I was surprised because I put him ahead of Tatum. The reason, I think at the end of these games, I've watched SGA the entire season, whoever the other team's best player is, he's matched the guy or outplayed him. It's happened too many times now. You can't discount it anymore because he's on a small-market team."
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander could have actually been a teammate of Jayson Tatum's in Boston, but Danny Ainge traded the final Nets pick he owned from the KG/Pierce trade, along with Isaiah Thomas, to the Cavs in order to make Kyrie Irving the team's young lead guard of the future. The Cavs actually passed on Gilgeous-Alexander in that 2018 NBA draft and instead selected Collin Sexton with that #8 lottery pick. Doc Rivers and the Clippers would scoop up Shai Gilgeous-Alexander at #11, but then were forced to trade him to the Thunder to appease Kawhi Leonard, who would only sign with them if they also traded for Paul George.
Kyrie of course didn't end up being the Celtics lead guard of the future and plotted his exit a year and a half later to team up with Kevin Durant in Brooklyn. They ended up playing only about a year together before both were traded out of Brooklyn.
Shai and Tatum on the other hand have both become superstars and lead two of the three top NBA teams in the standings as of today. The Celtics currently are owners of the best record in the NBA, while the Thunder have the third best.