The Oklahoma City Thunder capped off a 10-3 month of December that awarded them the Western Conference Rookie and Player of the Month honors by ringing in the New Year with a win over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday.
After that 127-123 win over the top-notch Celtics, the Sports Media Landscape took note of how the Oklahoma City Thunder (23-10) are playing this season as they sit second in the Western Conference.
Everything from stamping the Thunder contenders to lofting Shai Gilgeous-Alexander up pundits' latest player ranking lists and the endless clamoring for Oklahoma City to make a big splash.
In the Thunder's win over Boston, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander dropped 36 points, dishing out seven assists and hailing in six rebounds while shooting 63 percent from the floor and 60 percent from deep. The MVP candidate also collected a steal on the defensive end.
Obviously, the Canadian guard stole the headlines despite Celtic star Jayson Tatum putting up 30 points, 13 rebounds, eight assists, and a steal while shooting 47 percent in the loss.
While Jayson Tatum is off to a fantastic start this season, leading the powerful Celtics, who appear to be the Title favorites in the early onset, he has not garnered the media attention other NBA stars have, including Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
This led Joe Mazzulla to take the podium in a recent press conference and take a perceived shot at Thunder superstar Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in the process of demanding more attention for his own star.
Last season, Gilgeous-Alexander enjoyed his first All-Star appearance, landed on the first-team All-NBA roster, and netted fifth place in MVP voting after leading up to a 31-point-per-game scorer, with nearly five rebounds and five assists to go along with that scoring presence.
The Kentucky product led the Thunder to a shocking 40-win season and a trip to the postseason, falling just short of navigating through the NBA Play-In tournament as the tenth seed. After a Summer of lapping the competition at the FIBA World Cup, the max contract point guard has picked up right where he left off.
However, this is only 33 games into year two of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander being at this level. It is certainly fair to categorize him as a "shiny new toy," as Mazzulla puts it, especially considering the lack of overt media attention the Thunder guard had a year ago.
Though, this assumed slight does not sit right with Thunder fans considering Gilgeous-Alexander has Tatum beat in points, assists, steals, and blocks per game while being wildly more efficient than the Celtics great.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is posting a 10.4 BPM compared to Tatum's 4.6 and a 3.6 VORP compared to Tatum's 1.9.
Mazzulla is right, especially considering how good Boston is this season; Tatum deserves to be in these conversations, but not at the expense of a certain shiny new toy the Celtics bench boss was likely referring to.