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- The OKC Thunder are surprisingly within the playoff image.
- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is having a breakout season.
- The sophomore guard’s offensive arsenal is powering OKC to turning into the darkish horse of the West.
The Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder was purported to be backside-dweller within the star-studded Western Convention. The franchise misplaced their two greatest gamers Russell Westbrook and Paul George within the offseason. The items they obtained in return have been a number of draft picks and decide swaps along with an ageing star Chris Paul and Danilo Gallinari, who’s a task participant at greatest. Additionally they acquired second-yr guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
Positive, Oklahoma’s future seems vibrant with seven first spherical draft picks and a number of decide swaps. Nevertheless, they’re not anticipated to be aggressive. The departure of not one however two franchise gamers signaled a complete overhaul.
However, 31 video games into the season and the Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder are critical playoff contenders. They’re above .500 with a win/loss record of 16-15 to take the seventh spot within the West. A star is rising in OKC and his identify isn’t CP3.
OKC’s Inheritor Obvious Is a Sophomore Guard
For the category of 2018, a lot of the highlight was being loved by Trae Younger and Luka Doncic, and for good cause. These two guards have shortly risen to grow to be their groups marquee gamers. There’s one other guard in that draft class that deserves your consideration: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
SGA was the centerpiece of the commerce deal that despatched Paul George to the Clippers. The Clippers’ front office didn’t want to part ways with the former Kentucky Wildcat. They noticed the younger man’s potential they usually needed him to be the face of the franchise.
With a future All-Star guard within the roster, the OKC Thunder have a recent franchise participant to construct round. This gave the Thunder entrance workplace the audacity to commerce former MVP Russell Westbrook.
Gilgeous-Alexander Is Beginning to Unleash His Potential
The Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder are 7-three of their final ten video games. They’re additionally 2.5 video games forward of the eighth seed Portland Path Blazers. OKC’s rise because the darkish horse of the West is essentially as a result of SGA is stepping as much as the plate.
The second-yr guard is averaging 19.4 points per game this season, an enormous leap from his 10.eight factors per recreation in 2018 with the Clippers.
As well as, the sophomore guard is posting celebrity numbers as of late. SGA is averaging 26.4 points per game in his final 5 video games whereas capturing at a excessive clip of almost fifty three% from the sector. With Gilgeous-Alexander spearheading the offense, the Thunder convincingly dispatched groups such because the Path Blazers, Jazz, and even the Clippers.
The Second-Yr Guard Has the Repertoire of an All-Star
Gilgeous-Alexander isn’t a lifeless-eye shooter like Trae Younger. He’s additionally not a superb facilitator like Luka Doncic. As well as, he’s not quick and he’s not athletic.
His skills are one in every of a sort. SGA is a artful slasher with large physique management.
Gilgeous-Alexander’s capacity to drive units up different sides of his recreation. With defenders cautious of his penetration, SGA is usually left alone past the arc the place he’s capturing at an honest 35%.
The younger guard may also persistently hit robust floaters to create his personal shot.
Shai also can hit the jumper off the dribble.
These are the photographs powering OKC to seize the seventh seed within the West. CP3 would be the workforce’s veteran chief however there’s little question that OKC’s future is within the arms of a rising star SGA.
This text was edited by Sam Bourgi.