Notebook: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander gains attention, Holmgren rehab update

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

The Oklahoma City Thunder are in the midst of yet another surprising season, outperforming expectations at this point in the year, and in large part that is thanks to max contract point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander who has taken his game to a superstar level throughout these first 15 games. In this week’s Mailbag, we will dive into Shai Gilgeous-Alexander gaining national exposure, and Chet Holmgren’s rehab.

Gilgeous-Alexander is averaging 31 points, four rebounds, and six assists per game while shooting 53 percent from the floor, 40 percent from beyond the arc, and 90 percent from the line. SGA leads the NBA in drives again this season, he has already won an NBA Western Conference Player of the Week award and was nominated for another one, but the National Attention does not stop there for the rising star.

The Oklahoma City Thunder are seeing Shai Gilgeous-Alexander rise to superstardom as he is gaining National Attention from the NBA Media, and a video of Chet Holmgren’s rehab put Twitter into a frenzy

In every NBA National Podcast from Bill Simmons, to Hoop Collective, the Ringer’s Mismatch, and Locked on NBA, everyone is talking about the star power of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander right now. Some of the takes on these podcasts were outrageously fun for Oklahoma City Thunder fans.

From calling for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to be in the MVP conversation, saying the only player definitively better than SGA is Giannis Antetokounmpo, to admitting that the OKC Thunder are building this team the right way and heading in the right direction. It was marvelous.

With Shai Gilgeous-Alexander gaining National Attention the weekend got even better for Oklahoma City Thunder when footage from Sunday’s practice was released of Chet Holmgren working out without a boot.

This has led fans to go crazy speculating if Holmgren, who was previously tabbed as out for the year, could emerge late this season for the Oklahoma City Thunder and play this season.

While I understand fans’ excitement to see their 2nd overall pick from the 2023 NBA Draft, especially with how fun this season has already been for the Thunder, let’s take a step back here.

It is great that Chet Holmgren is attacking this rehab the way the team believed he would, it is great that he is doing some workouts without a boot on, but he is still wearing the boot in his day-to-day life.

There is also a huge difference between playing on air and almost at half speed than racing up and down the floor with other NBA athletes who have been in game shape for three, four, or five months whenever it is that fans dream of Holmgren’s return.

While I would be thrilled if Holmgren could play sooner than later, no evidence suggests he will play this year, in fact at every step we are told he will not. So we can not pick and choose when to believe the team or players, if they say he is out for the year, he is out for the year. Just as if they say Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is on board for the rebuild we believe them over anonymous sources or people on Twitter.

It is better to be having these hypothetical conversations than the opposite, that is for sure! Though I would just encourage fans to enjoy the ride this season, and look forward to adding Chet Holmgren to the fold next year.

Games this week: Monday vs Knicks, Wednesday vs Nuggets, Friday vs Bulls, Saturday @ Rockets

Song of the Week: Let it be, the Beatles

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