The Oklahoma City Thunder have seen Shai Gilgeous-Alexander make a massive leap over the last year. Fourteen months ago, the biggest question surrounding Gilgeous-Alexander was can he make the All-Star team.
After selecting Chet Holmgren second overall in the 2022 NBA Draft, many questioned if the max contract point guard could be a “number one option” for the franchise.
Fast forward a year later, not only did Shai Gilgeous-Alexander earn his first All-Star appearance, but he landed on the First-Team All-NBA, finished fifth in MVP voting, and was able to lift Team Canada to historic heights in the 2023 FIBA World Cup.
OKC Thunder sees Shai Gilgeous-Alexander firmly enter the MVP conversation after a solid start to the season.
In the FIBA World Cup, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was impressive, dominating Team USA in his final game and flexing his Superstar muscles. During this NBA season, Gilgeous-Alexander is picking up right where he left off.
Through 15 games, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is averaging 30 points, six rebounds, six assists, a league-high 2.3 steals, and a block per game. Gilgeous-Alexander is remaining efficient shooting 53 percent from the floor, shooting 36 percent from beyond the arc, and 93 percent at the charity stripe.
After finishing fifth in MVP voting a year ago, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander currently ranks third in the Basketball Reference’s MVP tracker. The tracker is relatively good at predicting the eventual winner and only places the OKC Thunder superstar behind two-time MVP Nikola Jokic and last season’s winner Joel Embiid.
Playing alongside Chet Holmgren, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has been able to thrive, translating to winning. The OKC Thunder sit 11-5, good enough for the second-best record in the Western Conference, largely due to Gilgeous-Alexander, who pioneered this OKC squad to an 11-4 record when he has played.
While Chet Holmgren is tracking to be the League’s Rookie of the Year, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has a solid case to be the Most Valuable Player.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is shooting 66 percent at the cup, 52 percent in the mid-range, and 37 percent from beyond the arc. As a pick-and-roll ball handler, Gilgeous-Alexander generates nearly a point per possession while dominating in transition (1.3 points per possession) and ranking in the 76th percentile as an isolation option, chipping in 1.103 points per possession.
Gilgeous-Alexander rankings in the 62nd percentile on all defensive possessions according to Synergy, ranking in the 93rd percentile when fighting over hand-offs, 62nd percentile in defending spot-up shooters and limiting matchups to 45 percent from the rim.
The max contract point guard is one of the few in the sport who produces at a high level on both ends, which is immensely more impressive when you factor in the taxing style of play he is forced to perform at on the offensive end.