Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander might be the NBA’s best player that no one talks about as he plays for a team that sits 11th in the Western Conference with a 7-8 record.
Let’s dive into Alexander’s history in the NBA and why he’s the league’s next superstar to emerge.
Shai-Gilgeous Alexander’s career in the NBA ahead of the 2022-23 season
Alexander was selected by the Charlotte Hornets as an 11th pick in the 2018 NBA draft before being traded to the Los Angeles Clippers for 12th pick Miles Bridges and two future second-round picks that same night.
The young guard showed promise in his first NBA season when he averaged 10.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists while shooting 47.6% from the field and 36.7% from three- score line shot.
The Clippers didn’t last long, however, as they traded him along with Danilo Gallinari and five first-round picks to the Thunder for superstar player Paul George. As it stands today, the trade was a mistake as Los Angeles lost to Alexander.
Since this off-season, the 24-year-old has been a staple at the Thunder and has improved every year. Alexander has seen his points per game increase every season of his young career.
The 2022/23 season seems to mark his breakthrough as a star player in the league. Let’s dive into the start of Alexander’s season and why he’ll be doing so in the NBA for years to come.
Also Read: Oklahoma City Thunder’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is easily the NBA’s most improved player
Oklahoma City Thunder find gold with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander as the NBA’s next superstar
The Thunder struck gold when Alexander became the NBA’s next superstar. This might not have been expected when they traded George for Alexander, but the future is incredibly bright.
Alexander is averaging 32.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 1.9 steals and 1.4 blocks in 14 games this season while shooting 54.6% from the field and 40.0% from off the field bow shoots.
It goes without saying that Oklahoma City is absolutely thrilled with the scenario that Alexander is starring in this year. Although there have been reports linking Alexander to other teams, they would have to give the Thunder a fortune to let him go.
Frankly, there’s no reason it should be relocated any time soon. Alexander signed a five-year, $179.29 million contract that links him with Oklahoma City through the 2027 season.
The Thunder have the stones around Alexander to build a team capable of winning in the future. There are enough young talents to flock to him. So if they’re ready to go head-to-head, the squad will have the chemistry.
Until the organization starts winning consistently, Alexander will likely grow up in trade talks as players of his caliber don’t typically stick with losing teams for very long.
But even if he’s been posted, there’s no way a player can fill the entire box score while eclipsing 32 points per game on a team with a near-.500 record and not a star elsewhere.
This is legitimate fame born overnight. Alexander is only 24 years old and will do even better and better. There is still room for growth as he averages 3.4 turnovers per game.
And if he can still shoot 94.0% on 7.7 attempts from the free throw line, there’s no cap for him in the playoffs. Free throws are an integral part of the game when it becomes a half field setting.
Alexander is a natural and despite playing in a team with a 7-8 record it’s time to acknowledge his game as he will be in this league for a long time to come.