OKC Thunder: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander takeaways from media session

OKC Thunder cornerstone Shai Gilgeous-Alexander spoke remotely with media today

The NBA remains on track to resume play in Orlando at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World at the end of July. With that timeframe in mind, the OKC Thunder are ramping up their efforts as one of the 22 participating NBA teams. Wednesday morning, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander spoke remotely with media.

Missing out on live-action sports has been harrowing for those of us with a bit of an unnatural NBA obsession (raises hand). Fortunately, we don’t have much longer to wait and this morning offered up goodies in the form of a media session (although remotely) from the cornerstone of the OKC Thunder, guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

As per typical, the Canadian was even-keeled and is approaching this situation as he does everything else, with calm and focus. Gilgeous-Alexander spent time in Canada during the hiatus but didn’t let it deter him from staying in shape. Social media video confirms he seems to have added a bit of muscle and looks as silky smooth as ever.

The above twitter video link shows the youngster in action during the break. Sporting a pair of Louis Vuitton shorts it’s no wonder the Canadian is considered a fashion icon already.

Writer Joe Mussatto of the Oklahoman offered hints of Gilgeous-Alexander’s time off in his recent article. Mussatto spoke to the SGA’s brand manager Dwayne Washington.

 For six days a week, from late March to mid-June, Gilgeous-Alexander worked out at Royal Crown Academic School in Toronto. The Thunder guard practiced from 9 to 11 a.m. every day except Sundays.

With Chris Paul being the primary ballhandler and the clutch time trio point guard lineup it’s meant Shai has had to deal with being a scorer more often in catch and shoot situations. Washington noted SGA has worked on the specific elements of the game that would help him in this regard like created space off the dribble and shooting off the dribble from the perimeter.

The T.I. writing staff addressed some of the things the guard could work on during the hiatus in our round table sessions.

The Kentucky alum is anxious to get back on the hardwood and play with his team. As for the Q and A session, the following offers SGA’s responses to specific questions:

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander answers media questions:

Activity during hiatus:

Gilgeous-Alexander confirmed his activity in today’s call noting “I’ve been playing basketball basically the entire time, once the restrictions dropped, I was able to get on the floor and get some shots up.”

Asked about playing and whether he had any hesitancy:

Shai left no doubt about where he stands on this matter. He’s excited and anxious to play stating “I’m a hooper, I love to hoop”.

SGA was asked about being concerned about being in America and the COVID-19 situation:

Since he spent a good portion of his hiatus in Canada presumably that’s why this question was asked. Notably, in Canada, the two provinces which had the highest COVID-19 cases were Ontario and Quebec.

Shai’s time was spent in Ontario where the cases significantly dropped this past month. We only moved onto phase two this past week but our daily case totals are under 200. On Tuesday the tally was 157 new cases and there aren’t updates today since it’s a holiday (Canada Day). Ontario’s 2020 population is approximately 14.5 million with Toronto accounting for almost 6.2 million.

Gilgeous-Alexander told reporters he isn’t worried, always wears a mask when he goes out and takes the necessary precautions.

Does he know what message he’ll you put on his jersey?

Shai stated he hadn’t given the message much thought and will talk to his teammates and figure that out when they arrive (assuming he means in Orlando).

Should there be an asterisk beside this season’s title winners? 

We’re all basketball players, the best in the world. The team who deserves all the accolades.” (he means the winners will have earned the title)

These media sessions are planned for every day now leading up to when the OKC Thunder leaves for the Disney bubble. Based on other teams who’ve already been interacting with players this session was much longer than the typical session.

Coming up takeaways from the media session held today with Billy Donovan.