NBA legend heaps praise on Aaron Wiggins after Thunder take Game 1 vs Mavericks

Apr 21, 2024; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Aaron Wiggins (21) gestures
Apr 21, 2024; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Aaron Wiggins (21) gestures / Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Though guys like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Chet Holmgren, and Jalen Williams may receive the bulk of attention and credit for the success this OKC Thunder team has come across in 2023-24, it has taken far more than just three players for them to become the youngest team in NBA history to claim a No. 1 seed and advance to the Western Conference Semifinals.

During their magical campaign, it's been observed that due to the depth in which coach Mark Daigneault's rotations typically go, on any given night any number of players could find themselves stepping up and aiding significantly in winning ways.

During Tuesday's Game 1, that certain individual proved to be third-year swingman Aaron Wiggins who, with his high-end energy on both ends of the floor, helped not only in creating scoring opportunities for Oklahoma City but slowing down Dallas' offensive agenda as well.

From his electrifying scoring efficiency to his swarming defensive presence, the 25-year-old proved to be a true stud performer during his Semifinal debut, and, with his efforts, he wound up receiving significantly high praise from one of the game's legendary players, Shaquille O'Neal during NBA on TNT's postgame discussion.

Shaq praises Aaron Wiggins after Thunder best Mavericks in Game 1

"OKC does have great depth. My favorite player today was Wiggins. I've never really even seen the kid play but he came in, he did his job, and played well."

Shaquille O'Neal

While this may have only been Shaq's first time watching the youngster ball, Thunder fans have been well aware of his specific high-end talents and were enthralled to see them show out under the bright lights of round two.

Putting forth easily the best performance of his postseason career, in nearly 23 minutes of play Wiggins went on to drop 16 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block while shooting a highly efficient 71.4 percent from the floor and 75.0 percent from distance.

His off-ball movement was truly invaluable for Oklahoma City during Tuesday's opener, while his energizer bunny mentality was over contagious.

In the end, his efforts helped lead the Thunder to a 117-95 win over the fifth-seeded Mavericks and, in turn, give them a 1-0 lead in this best-of-seven series.

After his performance, it appears the legendary center is finally understanding why OKC fans are so infatuated with the man who saved basketball.