Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has emerged as a superstar over the last year. The question around this time last season was simple. Could Shai Gilgeous-Alexander become an All-Star?
Not only did he make his first All-Star game, Gilgeous-Alexander became a 31-point-per-game scorer to go along with nearly five rebounds (5.8) and five assists a night. The max contract point guard also took a leap on the defensive end, compiling 1.6 steals and a block per tilt.
That was good enough to lift Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to his first All-NBA honors cracking the first-team as a guard. The Kentucky product also finished fifth in MVP voting last season, as the 25 year old led the OKC Thunder to a 16-win improvement and a play-in bid.
ESPN ranks Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in the top-ten, ahead of LeBron James, entering the 2023-24 NBA season.
For the past 13 seasons, ESPN ranks the top 100 players in the NBA ahead of the regular season. Last year, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander came in ranked 48th. This year? Not only did Shai Gilgeous-Alexander crack the top ten, but he is placed as the 8th best player in the entire NBA.
Gilgeous-Alexander is only behind Kevin Durant, Jayson Tatum, Steph Curry, Luka Doncic, Joel Embiid, Nikola Jokic, and Giannis Antetokounmpo. This places Gilgeous-Alexander directly ahead of LeBron James and Anthony Davis to round out the top ten.
Gilgeous-Alexander is accompanied by Jalen Williams (95), Chet Holmgren (73), and Josh Giddey (53). With the core four all ranking in the top-100, it shows the direction of the OKC Thunder.
Entering year three, Josh Giddey is on the cusp of the top-50. OKC Thunder fans would argue Jalen Williams is too low, barely clinging to a top-100 spot, and they would be right. Williams deserves to be much higher on this list. However, with just one season of data, the rankings are going to shift toward those with a longer track record.
Chet Holmgren has yet to play a single regular season game and is already at 73 in the entire NBA. Monday’s preseason matchup with Victor Wembanyama showed you exactly why.