Shai Gilgeous-Alexander heard the noise, rose above it

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

The Oklahoma City Thunder have clinched a playoff bid for the first time in two seasons, ending their longest drought since the franchise relocated from Seattle. Before the season, no one besides the deepest Thunder fan thought this was possible. Pundits went as far as to proclaim this to be a 20-win team, four wins worse than they were during the 2021-22 season. As everyone put the OKC Thunder into a tank-shaped box, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander collected receipts.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is having a stellar season that should land him on the first-team All-NBA list. The 24-year-old is averaging 31 points, four rebounds, five assists, and shooting 51 percent from the floor, 34 percent from deep, and 90 percent at the free throw line. However, it is not all about the offense for the first-time All-Star, Gilgeous-Alexander collects a steal and a half per game while swatting a shot per contest. Synergy grades SGA as an “Excellent” defender, ranking in the 87th percentile and holding the opposition to 0.883 points per possession.

The Oklahoma City Thunder surprised the NBA world, made the NBA Postseason, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander collected receipts.

The OKC Thunder have made the postseason, playing in the NBA Play-in tournament on Wednesday. One of the bright spots of this Thunder season off the court has been waiting around after each win to see what Shai Gilgeous-Alexander will caption his next Instagram post. The superstar has not let us down yet and delivered again after beating the Utah Jazz and watching the Mavericks tank against the Chicago Bulls.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander wrote, “I heard them hating; I didn’t let it bother me. They thought I’d be on vacation preparing for the [NBA Draft] Lottery. Every game that went by, we kept bringing up the rank. We were ready for war; they kept bringing up the tanks.”

Since the end of the 2020 NBA bubble, fanbases have tried to pry SGA from the OKC Thunder. Claiming the organization only cares about losing and first-round picks, saying they have been tanking forever, and forecasted that for another season. The free Shai Gilgeous-Alexander got out of hand, even this season when the star went down with an Abdominal injury post-All-Star break.

Through all the pear-clutching, NBA fans and media alike are speechless at what the Thunder accomplished this season. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander clearly heard the noise, clearly filed it away, and is now taking his rightful victory lap.

So when you question what making the NBA Play-in tournament does for this team, this franchise, and this community, remember who wanted it most.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was handed the keys to one of 30 NBA franchises, and the rest of the league tried changing the locks. They did not realize, Gilgeous-Alexander was a locksmith.

Next. OKC Thunder clinch a postseason bid. dark