Welcome one and all to our newest player profile, 2022-23 Fantasy Basketball: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
Today, we look at a stud guard who has been playing lights-out basketball and is arguably a dark horse MVP candidate as of now, OKC Thunder SG Shai Gilgeous Alexander (SGA). He is quickly rising through the ranks of the NBA's elite.
Through the first two weeks of the season, his splits sit at 31/5/7 while shooting just under 50% from the field and 37% from three. His game has seemingly taken a giant step forward after a small step back this past season. As someone who follows the Thunder closely, I can firsthand say that this kid is a special type of talent.
His ceiling is MVP level, and at worst will be an All-Star multiple times.
Let's take a closer look.
2022-23 Fantasy Basketball: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
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Style of Play
shai gilgeous-alexander is taking another leap, 29-6.5-2.5stl-1.3 blk shooting 41.2% from three, +1 rts on crazy usage
the creation for self and others is overwhelming for even elite defensive players and the jumper is flourishing. this is a top 15 player blossoming pic.twitter.com/44tmC5vu7V
— ben pfeifer (go cavs) (@bjpf_) October 28, 2022
On a team that ranks in the bottom five for three-point shooting, SGA has to essentially create all of his offense. The fact that he can do so at such a high rate speaks volumes about his self-creation and efficiency. He draws so much defensive attention and yet is still finishing at the rim and drawing fouls. The fact that he has yet to miss a free throw this season is another feather in his cap.
His all-around offensive game has simply seen astounding improvements.
Shai Gilgeous Alexander ⚡ vs The Clippers:
On 50/100/100 and 63% TS
LIGHT WORK pic.twitter.com/JZQeyY3EUC
— Russ' TD ⚡ (@RussFcb) October 26, 2022
One of the biggest differences between this season and the one prior for Gilgeous-Alexander is his defense. In years past he was at best an average defender. So far this year, he has made some changes. He is currently averaging over two steals and a block per game, numbers that would be career highs.
The rest of the squad is a mix of unproven rookies and a couple of veterans. OKC as a squad is shooting 29.5% from three, second to last in the league. With no real threats from behind the arc, defenses typically converge on Gilgeous-Alexander. He STILL finds ways to get to the basket and create scoring chances for himself or his teammates at the rim.
The Thunder are outscoring opponents by nearly 13 points per possession when SGA is on the floor, an absurd amount. He is putting the offense on his back, making the Thunder an average to above-average machine all on his own. That alone is enough to make him one of the most valuable players in the NBA.
In short, Gilgeous-Alexander is making himself a household name for the casual NBA fan. It's hard not to notice when someone is putting up 30 points a game while getting almost no help. The Thunder are a team close to becoming relevant, and SGA will get his long-overdue respect from the rest of the league.
In the meantime, articles like these will suffice in spreading the word about one of the league's best stories.
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