5 Stars Shai Gilgeous-Alexander should quietly be recruiting right now

The Thunder need Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to help deliver a star to OKC.

Oklahoma City Thunder, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
Oklahoma City Thunder, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander / Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports
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4. Lauri Markkanen

Markkanen won Most Improved Player and made his first All-Star appearance last season. The seven-footer was featured on the rebuilding Utah Jazz and took his game to another level. He averaged 25.6 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 1.9 assists while shooting 49.9 percent from the field, 39.1 percent on his threes, and 87.5 percent from the free throw line.

The Thunder are in the top ten in both offensive and defensive rating this season, but they rank 25th in rebounds per game and 24th in 3-pointers attempted. Will Oklahoma City get bullied on the glass in the playoffs and could a team shoot them out of a series? The Thunder would be able to counteract both problems by adding Lauri Markkanen.

The 26-year-old played a lesser role in Chicago and Cleveland before arriving in Salt Lake City. Oklahoma City could maximize his efficiency next to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Chet Holmgren. Markkanen could be a floor-spacing sniper, who scores 18 every night with eight boards. Holmgren could protect the rim and leave Markkanen as the secondary big man inside.

The All-Star forward is extension-eligible in the summer of 2024 and becomes a free agent in 2025. He could be looking to leave the rebuilding Jazz. Markkanen has not played a postseason game in his career, so winning could be massive in his next move. The Oklahoma City Thunder are primed to contend, and SGA should already be making his recruiting pitches.