The OKC Thunder capped off an enjoyable season a year ago with a play-in tournament appearance, falling a game shy of the NBA playoffs. The pathway to get there was remarkable. Mark Daigneault finally got the respect he deserved as runner-up in the coach of the year race; even after losing the 2nd overall pick in the 2022 draft, the Thunder still had the runner-up for rookie of the year, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander leaped into superstar status.
While everyone around Oklahoma City knew he was a budding All-Star, it is okay to admit the leap to a 31-point-per-game scorer was a pleasant surprise. Gilgeous-Alexander chipped in nearly five rebounds and as many assists per tilt while shooting 51 percent from the floor, 34 percent from beyond the arc, and 90 percent at the free throw line.
The leap for the max contract point guard not only locked up his first All-Star nod but he was labeled as a first-team all-NBA member, finishing top-5 in MVP voting and putting up a great fight for the most improved player award. The improvement was not only noticeable on the offensive end but defensively as well. Synergy ranks Shai Gilgeous-Alexander as an “excellent” defender, and his impact was felt thanks to his length. Gilgeous-Alexander was one of the best in the league at generating deflections, dying for loose balls, and compiled 2.6 STOCKS per game.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander leaps into Superstar status with the latest Hoops Hype ranking.
The OKC Thunder have one of the best young cores in the entire NBA, and as season previews begin to roll out across different outlets, it is only reaffirming that. Hoops Hype is ranking the top players at each position in the NBA, and where they slotted Shai Gilgeous-Alexander should once again shine a light on the Kentucky product’s leap.
Hoops Hype has pegged Shai Gilgeous-Alexander as the third-best point guard in the entire NBA, only chasing Steph Curry and Luka Doncic. Funny enough, hoops hype has tabbed fellow Thunder backcourt mate Josh Giddey as the 19th-best point guard in the league.
The OKC Thunder certainly have a ton of talent on their roster, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is one of the best in the entire sport. Another exciting season is on the horizon in Bricktown.