Shai Gilgeous-Alexander worst performances in his rookie season were vs. OKC Thunder

OKC Thunder: Gilgeous-Alexander (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
OKC Thunder: Gilgeous-Alexander (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images) /

As Shai Gilgeous-Alexander finished his rookie season the one team he may be happiest to cross off his opponent list is his new squad – the OKC Thunder.

As the OKC Thunder continue to prepare for the coming season the fan base who is very familiar with Chris Paul isn’t in the same boat when it comes to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Having only faced the youngster on four occasions there is still much to learn.

In the first two meetings with the Clippers, it was within SGA’s first seven games. In fact, it was the second game of his rookie season when Gilgeous-Alexander got his first look at the Thunder. The Clippers won that day, but Russell Westbrook was still out nursing his offseason knee procedure so SGA would have to wait to get his first on court experience with the Brodie.

In that match, SGA put up a forgettable stat line of 2 points, 3 rebounds, and 4 assists. However, the Clippers won and the point guard who checked in off the bench took only two shots but got to the line and finished with an impressive plus 12.

The next meeting between the squads occurred just 11 days later in Oklahoma City. This time the rookie got to play against Westbrook but the outcome wasn’t much better. In fact of his first 20 games played in 2018, SGA averaged double-digit scoring and did so in 11 matches with two of his three lowest scoring efforts coming against the Thunder in that schedule segment.

His third match versus OKC came in mid-December and by this point, the rookie had moved into the starting rotation. Again his stat line was unimpressive. The final match between the clubs came on March 8 in a win for the Clippers.

It was SGA’s best scoring outing, but again the Thunder seemed to have some sort of elixir which rendered the rookie less effective.

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Subsequently, the point guard didn’t have his best outings against the Thunder. Still, as the Canadian defied the rookie odds by getting stronger as the season progressed the Thunder remained a team he struggled to score against. In his rookie campaign versus the OKC Thunder Shai averaged 4.5 points, 1.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.75 turnovers (a low number considering how well the Thunder forced turnovers).

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In comparison to the Canadian’s seasonal stats, he performed well below his average against the Thunder and had his lowest scoring average of all opponents his faced. His seasonal stats average as per the above basketball reference charts were: 10.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and shot 36.7 percent from the perimeter.

Suffice to say Gilgeous-Alexander is likely happy to cross the OKC Thunder off his opponent list next season as he’ll now sport the Thunder jersey.

In one particular segment of the season from the end of February through to early April SGA scored in double digits 17 out of 19 games.

The two games he failed to hit the mark were against the Thunder (9 points) and the Grizzlies. During those 19 games, the Kentucky product averaged 14.6 points, 3.4 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.4 steals and shot 50 percent from the perimeter.

Sometimes a player gets traded because a team covets them purposely because they’ve had a habit of feasting on them. In this case, it’s the opposite scenario. That is just one of the factors that bode well for the Canadian next season.

Next. How Thunder backcourt duo Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander can thrive together. dark

And, hey on the bright side not having to face the Thunder should find him improving his seasonal averages.