Thunder News: Rising stars, best play, superstar trade, all-time draft busts

Chet Holmgren, Rising Stars Challenge
Chet Holmgren, Rising Stars Challenge / Justin Casterline/GettyImages
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Shai Gilgeous-Alexander's best play

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is having one of the best seasons in franchise history, ranking No. 1 in a number of advanced metrics and neck-and-neck with two-time MVP Nikola Jokic for the award entering the home stretch. He is unquestionably the primary engine of the Thunder's offense.

Leveraging SGA's impact, however, can come in a number of ways. Which play type specifically is the most valuable for the Thunder? Data analyst Todd Whitehead (@CrumpledJumper on X) dug into each team's most productive offensive action, combining volume and efficiency, and laid them out in a fascinating chart:

The Thunder's most productive play this season? A Shai Gilgeous-Alexander isolation. They have run it a whopping 447 times this year, adding 45 points over the team's average halfcourt efficiency. This chart highlights how much the Thunder let SGA cook, and also how strong their normal halfcourt play is; they rank No. 1 in average halfcourt efficiency.

All-Time Draft Busts

As the Thunder watched three recent draft picks show out in the Rising Stars event over All-Star Weekend, Thunderous Intentions took a look back at those times when the draft didn't go so well for the Thunder. Who were the biggest draft busts of the Oklahoma City era for this franchise? Take a look at who made the list.

West Standings

The NBA Standings are largely unchanged from a week ago, considering the Thunder played just a single game. The Minnesota Timberwolves had a strong week and pushed ahead of Oklahoma City, but the Denver Nuggets are on a three-game skid and are now not only three games back of the No. 1 seed, but their +3.3 point differential ranks just sixth in the Western Conference and 10th in the league.

1. Minnesota Timberwolves, 39-16
2. Oklahoma City Thunder, 37-17 (1.5 games back)
3. LA Clippers, 36-17 (2 GB)
4. Denver Nuggets, 36-19 (3 GB)
5. Phoenix Suns, 33-22 (6 GB)
6. New Orleans Pelicans, 33-22 (6 GB)

What's Next

The Oklahoma City Thunder will resume play for the last stretch of the season on Thursday night when they host the LA Clippers in an improtant Western Conference showdown. Then they are back in action the next night against the Washington Wizards.

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