With the OKC Thunder 2021-22 season opener set for October 20th and training camps opening at the end of the month fans are anxious for a return to action. While the team’s focus isn’t to be competitive this season, it doesn’t mean there won’t be things for fans to look forward to. Especially when it comes to the individual stars on the team.
No one fits that description better than Thunder cornerstone Shai Gilgeous-Alexander who wil return to the court after missing 30 of the final 31 games and 29 consecutively due to plantar fasciitis.
Video shows OKC Thunder star Gilgeous-Alexander destroying competition
Fans worried about his health can put aside their anxiety if the video he posted today on Instagram is any indication. Mind you he wasn’t getting much resistance from a group of young prospects who were with him in the gym.
Several recent draft picks were spotted in the video such as Cleveland Cavaliers’ third overall draft pick Evan Mobley. The rookie may have been lost when it came to defending SGA but he was getting in his own licks versus former Thunder big man Stephen Adams as his social media video posts displayed. Mobley was turning the Big Kiwi inside out and getting past him easily to the paint.
Spotted in the various videos along with Gilgeous-Alexander are peers Jordan Clarkson and De’Aaron Fox as well as other recent draft picks Justinian Jessup (Warriors) and Joel Ayayi (Lakers).
It’s common for players to be sighted in these groups because they are working out with their selected trainers. In this case, it’s Swish Cultures and trainer Olin Simplis.
The OKC Thunder star sure looks good with his typical ease of scoring on display via his change of pace and hesitation moves. He’s swished several 3-pointers, put Mobley on skates driving by him with ease, and rocketed a pass to the corner for an easy 3-point look for a fellow player.
In another video with just SGA and trainer Simplis, the pair work on creating space – let’s call it the James Harden package as Shai offers similar moves to the Nets star. Shai handles being bumped off his initial moves with Simplis forcing him to alter his initial move whether it be to step back, dribble by him or dribble to a secondary spot.
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While fellow NBA players like his cousin Nickeil Alexander-Walker D’Angelo Russell and DeAndre Hunter also got into the fun either telling Shai to leave those moves at home or teasing the players on the court that SGA was abusing.
While this is part of the offseason work Gilgeous-Alexander is conducting in preparation for the season these sessions are also offering him an early peek at some of the newest NBA talents that he’ll be able to share with teammates prior to facing them this season.
The Canadian will undoubtedly be looking for a healthy bounce-back season with his eyes firmly set on growth and potentially vying for the Most Improved Player award. It’s a bit of a catch 22 for the Thunder star as he’ll want to maintain the team being competitive while knowing the mandate is to lose as much as possible in order to snare the top pick in the 2022 draft.