OKC Thunder Report Card as team enters stretch

JANUARY 7: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 and Chris Paul #3 of the OKC Thunder looks on during the game (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images)
JANUARY 7: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 and Chris Paul #3 of the OKC Thunder looks on during the game (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images) /
4 of 9
OKC Thunder
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the OKC Thunder handles the ball against the Minnesota Timberwolves (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images) /

A+. . G/F. Oklahoma City Thunder. SHAI GILGEOUS-ALEXANDER

The future:

It was common knowledge the Canadian youngster was a name Lawrence Frank wouldn’t entertain including in any trade package last season. Of all the players on the overachieving Clippers, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was the one player LA was intent on retaining.

Regardless of how the actual deal went down (or the timing – since we’ve heard about five different scenarios), Sam Presti made it clear no deal was getting done without SGA’s inclusion.

Everyone knew this was a talented young athlete with an extremely high ceiling. But arguably what no one knew was how quickly Gilgeous-Alexander would ascend or the untapped potential he truly has.

Case in point, having never registered a triple-double the youngster didn’t just break that barrier he made history in the process.

With the need for the club to find someone else to help with rebounding Billy Donovan tasked the youngster with being more aggressive on the boards.  His response was to go out and grab TWENTY en route to the historic 20 points, 20 rebounds,10 assists triple-double. He knocked Shaquille O’Neal off the ladder for becoming the youngest in history ever to put up a trilogy of stats of that nature and became only the second guard (Russell Westbrook) to deliver a 20 rebound trip-dub in the last 30 seasons.

Then factor in prior to this accomplishment SGA had collected one double-double in his rookie season and one versus the Mavericks this season. Since his breakout game in Minnesota, the youngster continues to produce double-doubles collecting five more before the break including three in a row.

Related Story. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander historic response to Donovan’s challenge. light

What a feeling that must be for coach Donovan to simply ask SGA to do more and get this kind of response from the youngster.

That Paul George hasn’t played much this season only makes the situation more profound. And, if the Thunder weren’t in the position they are perhaps there would be greater angst over this matter. But, the performance of the team and very obvious fact SGA is a potential generational talent has assuaged all cares and concerns over how or why PG left OKC.

That he can’t seem to stay on the court is only lending itself to a stronger belief this move was for the best. The Clippers may well be the team who’ll hold the Larry O’B at season end but long term – the prospect of where 21 year old Shai Gilgeous-Alexander will be in three to five years makes the situation moot.