Grading Thunder player performances in season opener

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the OKC Thunder (Photo by Harrison Barden/Getty Images)
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the OKC Thunder (Photo by Harrison Barden/Getty Images) /
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Head coach Mark Daigneault of the Oklahoma City Thunder meets with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Grading the Oklahoma City starters in their season debuts.

A. . G. Oklahoma City Thunder. SHAI GILGEOUS-ALEXANDER

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander reminded us that he is the franchise player tonight. He posted 32 points to go along with six rebounds, five assists, three steals, and two blocks. All this while shooting an efficient 12-of-23 from the floor, including two threes. Gilgeous-Alexander sprained his MCL a couple of weeks ago, jeopardizing his status for the start of the season. However, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander looked as healthy as ever, playing in over 36 minutes of action for OKC. Although it may not get much recognition from the mainstream media, a 32-point night on great efficiency is just the beginning for Shai. It’s only a matter of time before the league takes notice.

B+. . G. Oklahoma City Thunder. JOSH GIDDEY

Josh Giddey played pretty well, scoring 14 points, hauling in 11 rebounds, and dishing out four assists. One of the major takeaways from preseason was Giddey’s ability to shoot from distance, but Giddey struggled from three, shooting 2-for-7 from deep. However, he still looks visibly more confident when finding himself open for three. Despite not having the greatest offensive night, Giddey looked active on defense. He swatted away two shots, including an emphatic chase-down block on the fast break, and showed signs of defensive upside.

LUGUENTZ DORT. C+. . G/F. Oklahoma City Thunder

Lu Dort had an interesting game, to say the least. The Thunder guard played his first regular season game after his huge $87.5M extension that he signed this summer. Dort played great defense, per usual, but struggled to shoot the ball on the offensive side of the floor. He shot just 3-of-12 from the field and 1-of-6 from three, which was good for 10 points on the night. I expect Dort to look much sharper in upcoming games, especially in the scoring department.

F. Oklahoma City Thunder. KENRICH WILLIAMS. C.

Another player who inked a new deal with the Thunder this offseason was Kenrich Williams, signing a multi-year contract to stay in town. Williams earned himself a spot on the starting lineup and had an okay game. He scored five points and hauled in six rebounds on the night. While he didn’t impact the stat sheet too much, that’s not why he is here. Williams is a culture player that works hard and hustles on the court. Although his presence wasn’t felt all that much in this game, Williams will play a key part in this Thunder team moving forward.

B-. . F. Oklahoma City Thunder. ALEKSEJ POKUSEVSKI

In a shocking twist that most people didn’t see coming, head coach Mark Daigneault decided to insert Aleksej Pokusevski into the starting lineup. Despite being a seven-footer, Pokusevski has a very thin frame, making it quite an odd choice to start him against a frontcourt of Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns. However, Poku mostly held his own defensively. Offensively, he scored 11 points and snagged seven rebounds. However, Poku has a rough last few minutes of play and it was clear he Is not yet good enough to close out games for this squad. Even though later in the game he did not play great, I don’t think it’s fair to not acknowledge his overall good performance for OKC tonight.