OKC Thunder: 3 improvements SGA can make to win 2022 Most Improved Player

OKC Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) reacts after a shot against the Heat : Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
OKC Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) reacts after a shot against the Heat : Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports /

Over the course of this offseason, trades and utter disrespect toward OKC Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander‘s ability on the court was plastered all over social media. One way for SGA to stamp his name on the NBA and to establish respect is to win the Most Improved Player award.

There are specific components where SGA can improve upon to make his claim to the Most Improved Player Award. Intentions dive into three specific areas on how the Canadian could become the frontrunner to win the award.

3 ways OKC Thunder star Gilgeous-Alexander can claim Most Improved Player

Gilgeous-Alexander took another leap last season and was among the most efficient players not only on the Thunder but in the league. He’ll be intent on continuing his ascent and there are three specific areas Intentions believe would separate him from other candidates.

Improvement No. 1 – Defense:

The first step to improvement is on the defensive end. We saw a very minimal dip in his defensive production last season with his steals average going down from 1.1 to 0.8 and his fouls going up from 1.7 to 2.0 on the season.

Something that seems to be the theme for the Thunder youth is putting on tons of muscle and toning up and SGA is leading the way.

The Canadian has the length to be able to guard point guards, shooting guards, and small forwards but has yet to build up the strength. With Shai putting on muscle the possibility for him to switch onto any guard or forward comfortability against any physical build will be vital for his versatility on the defensive end.

Gilgeous-Alexander does not need to become the second coming of Tony Allen but if he can become a more solidified defender it will help his case for Most Improved Player.

Improvement No. 2 – aim for 50-40-90 club:

The second step for SGA to win Most Improved Player is to hit the 50-40-90 benchmark.

For those unfamiliar 50-40-90 stands for shooting 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from behind the 3-point line, and 90 percent from the free-throw line.

Last season the former Wildcat made jumps in both his field goal percentage and an especially notable jump in his 3-point percentage going up 7 percent to get past the 40 percent mark.

Where Gilgeous-Alexander has yet to improve in his professional career is on the charity stripe. He has consistently shot at the 80 percent mark throughout all three years of his career.

The OKC Thunder cornerstone can and will be the next member of the impressive 50-40-90 club and it will be a huge notch on his resume to win Most Improved Player.

Improvement No. 3 – Participate in the majority of games:

Arguably the biggest knock on Shai last season was his availability.

More from Thunderous Intentions

There are multiple reasons why SGA was out last season. Obviously, the main being the tear that he suffered in his plantar fascia.  That specific injury kept him out for the majority of the season as well as representing his National team in the Olympic Qualifying event.

Another main reason is the goals the OKC Thunder had in mind last season — tanking being at the top of the list. That meant it was wise to sit the cornerstone in order to lose more games. Frankly, Shai was too good, and when he played it resulted in too many wins.

This season is shaping up to be more of the same for the Thunder with the tanking goal firmly planted atop their list of goals. But, for Gilgeous-Alexander to win Most Improved Player he is going to need to play the majority of the games.

Winning Most Improved Player

To sum up, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has the chance this season to establish his name as one of the top young guards in the NBA. Last year he got the attention of the media and association via his efficiency and leadership.

This season if he makes improvements on defense and free-throw shooting while participating in the majority of games he could be well on his way to winning the 2022 Most Improved Player award.

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