September 27, 2022
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of the Thunder is the NBA's

Most fans aren’t unfamiliar with Gilgeous-Alexander. He was a lottery pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, after all. Also, he’s started all but nine of the games he is played. He is a member of some competitive teams, helping the Clippers reach the playoffs in his rookie season and the Thunder in his sophomore season.

Even yet, Gilgeous-Alexander has come a long way in the previous year and a half. To the point where an All-Star selection appears to be a foregone conclusion, possibly as early as next season.

Gilgeous-Alexander set career highs in all three categories in his first season in Oklahoma City. Averaging 23.7 points, 5.9 assists, and 4.7 rebounds per game on 508/.418/.808 shooting splits.

The Thunder were unexpectedly happy while he was on the court, despite having the second-worst record in the Western Conference. This season, his efficiency has dipped a little. He’s still averaging 24.2 points, 5.8 assists, and 5.0 rebounds in 53 games.

Since the All-Star break, he’s also been on another level.

Gilgeous Alexander’s ability to score in baskets demonstrates by these numbers.

Few players score as simply as he does. He isn’t the fastest or most athletic player at his position, but he is extra skilled, and his game has a herky-jerky quality that even the greatest defenders have trouble keeping up.

This season, Gilgeous-3-point Alexander’s shooting has plummeted (41.8 percent to 29.1 percent). But neither that nor the lack of 3-point shooting surrounding him OKC is dead last in 3-point percentage. He has kept him from thriving in pain, where he’s among the league’s top scorers. Moreover, His stature and length allow him to get his shot off against most defenders. Also, he occasionally pulls off plays that leave 7-footers speechless.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is one of the league’s most inventive scorers. He’s not just ambidextrous, but he also has the best footwork. He frequently does things that leave you scratching your head, unsure what he was considering.

Gilgeous-Alexander has borne a significant burden over the last two seasons, surrounded by a rebuilding team consisting of projects and unknown players. Last season, he made 87.1 percent of his shots unassisted. It is the highest percentage in the NBA. Only Chris Paul, Trae Young, and Luka Doncic had a lower ratio of unassisted field goals therefore far this season.

Imagine what he’ll look like when he’s flanked by better teammates. If he’s already sleeping his way to 20 points per game. The shooters who can keep the defense Gilgeous-Alexander has been the league’s unluckiest passer this season. But with players who can get him an easy score now and again.

Gilgeous-Alexander isn’t as good a passer as some other stars in his position, but he’s certainly no slouch. He has considerable inventiveness and is fully capable of punishing teams for loading upon him. Also, when he gets downhill, he does more than anyone else.

Furthermore, Josh Giddey relieves some expectations as a primary scorer and facilitator. Thunder don’t need Gilgeous-Alexander to be their Doncic or Trae Young.

That begs the question of what the Thunder are constructing. This franchise is very much in the early stages of a rebuild. With more draft picks and cap space than every other team combined. It may be some time before we see playoff games in Oklahoma City again.

Here’s how some well-known players have performed on two-point attempts since the All-Star break:

Brandon Ingram: 63.6% on 15.4 attempts

Giannis Antetokounmpo: 61.3% on 15.2 attempts

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: 57.6% on 15.8 attempts

Ja Morant: 51.2% on 18.4 attempts

Joel Embiid: 45.9% on 15.0 attempts

You must keep a close eye on him. SGA routinely gets to his spots despite possessing a sub-elite burst, a sub-elite handle, and a moderate vertical pop. When you add in his supporting cast a general lack of spacing, his figures start to make no sense. He shouldn’t be this productive in this situation, but he’s good enough to make it work.

He is a model of slowing and flexibility. His ability to adjust the length of his strides is short and choppy, while others are longer is exceptional. The game is gaining a majority of his drives.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander appears to have discovered a cheat early in his career. If you modify the timing enough to throw defenders off, the actual moves don’t have to change much. His game’s stop-and-start aspect throws his opponents off, and his finishing land the knockout blow.

The Thunder’s top performers were as follows:

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is the NBA's most underrated player |  Sporting News
Photo Credit: sportingnews.com

He’s scored 30 points or more eight times in his last ten games. He scored 29 points in one of the two games he failed to reach the 30-point mark. On the season, Gilgeous-Alexander has averaged 24.2 points per game

He had 32 points and eight rebounds on Monday night. Also, have 12-of-20 shots from the field and three 3-pointers. His productivity has been skyrocketing. The emerging star’s ability to produce the best shot with the talent he’s surrounded by has been genuinely remarkable.

Darius Bazley

One question facing each Thunder player: Darius Bazley
Photo Credit: okcthunderwire.usatoday.com

Bazley followed up his 29-point, 10-rebound outburst with another monster stat line of 25 points, four rebounds, and four assists.

The Thunder forward came on late in the season to add to the promise and enthusiasm that dwindled his poor start. Bazley has regained his effectiveness and is making more accurate shots.

On Monday night, he was on fire from beyond the arc. Bazley made four of his nine 3-point attempts in the game. He has made at least 40% of his three-point shots in four straight games.

Aleksej Pokusevski

Thunder's Pokusevski enters concussion protocol | theScore.com
Photo Credit: thescore.com

With a 17-point performance on Monday night, Pokusevski made it six straight games in double figures. He finished the night with a 6-of-11 shooting percentage and two triples.

Poku has averaged 11.9 points and 6.7 rebounds in his previous ten games while shooting 46 percent from the field. We’ve never seen a better and more consistent sample size of Poku than this.

He’s developed into a deceptive offensive rebounder and pick-and-roll specialist. His trajectory has shifted higher once more, aiming for OKC.

Photo Credit: sportingnews.com

Read more: Terry Rozier has issued a challenge to Hornets fans ahead of the team’s most important games in years.

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