Shai Gilgeous-Alexander talks major Thunder weakness that must be fixed in offseason

Dallas Mavericks v Oklahoma City Thunder - Game Five
Dallas Mavericks v Oklahoma City Thunder - Game Five / Joshua Gateley/GettyImages

The OKC Thunder fell to the Dallas Mavericks in Wednesday's Game 5, resulting in them once again falling behind in their Western Conference Semifinal bout 3-2 and, thus, leading them to the brink of elimination.

While many factors played a role in the club's latest demise, with fans' fingers pointing to several of Oklahoma City's lackluster individual performers, during his postgame press conference superstar Shai Gilgeous-Alexander pinpointed one key weakness in his team's productivity that seemed to play a major role in the night's ultimate outcome.

Said weakness: Rebounding.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander talks Thunder's rebounding woes after Game 5

"It felt like every time we were about to make a run they got an offensive rebound."

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

On both the offensive and defensive end, the Mavericks managed to dominate the glass against the undersized Thunder all throughout Game 5, as they pulled down 46 total boards compared to just 33 and saw three separate players register double-digit rebounds while OKC had no players pull down more than six and their tallest talent in Chet Holmgren (7-foot-1) only grabbed four.

Throughout the 2023-24 campaign, the team's rebounding woes have been a major talking point among fans and media pundits -- rightly so considering they wrapped up the regular season ranked fourth-worst in rebounding in the entire association by registering just 42.0 a night.

Such struggles, along with their overall lacking size have led many to doubt the Thunder's viability as a legitimate championship contender this season, with former NBA forward Chandler Parsons even claiming ahead of this year's playoff run that "the physicality, Chet [Holmgren] at the five, that's a real issue."

Though it may not have been all that apparent during their first-round matchup against the semi vertically challenged New Orleans Pelicans, against a Mavs team that has four players in their starting lineup alone measuring in at 6-foot-6 and over, and have three consistent contributors at 6-foot-10 and taller, it's unfortunately been quite noticeable and, frankly, a real challenge for them to overcome.

Should Oklahoma City somehow manage to rattle off two straight wins and advance to the conference finals, such struggles will still likely be experienced, and perhaps to an even higher degree as they'll either be facing Karl-Anthony Towns (7-feet) and Rudy Gobert (7-foot-1) of the Minnesota Timberwolves or Nikola Jokic (6-foot-11), Michael Porter Jr (6-foot-9), and Aaron Gordon (6-foot-8) of the Denver Nuggets.

Regardless of how their semifinal matchup ends, this summer the Thunder must look into ways to address their size disadvantage against opposing teams, especially those they're destined to square off against for the foreseeable future in the big, bulky, and burly Western Conference postseason.