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ThunderBolt wrote:Spoiler:Jamaaliver wrote:The RingerThe Thunder May Already Have Their Next Face of the Franchise
Oklahoma City scored an unprecedented haul of draft picks this summer, but Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, the lone young player it acquired, could easily become the cornerstone for its next title push. Here’s why.
The Westbrook era is officially over, and SGA has the skills to become the new face of the franchise in Oklahoma City.
There are two reasons Gilgeous-Alexander is such an intriguing prospect:
1. Positional size. At 6-foot-6 and 181 pounds with a 6-foot-11 wingspan, SGA is a point guard with the length of a small forward. He towers over most players at his position, which allows him to shoot over them on offense and cover them up on defense. He was the rare rookie who was not a liability on that end of the floor. His defensive versatility also allowed the Clippers to start him on the wing next to two smaller guards in Patrick Beverley and Landry Shamet. Gilgeous-Alexander, who turned 21 in July, is still fairly lanky. His size will only become more valuable as he matures physically and adds muscle, which will allow him to bully smaller opponents.
2. Basketball IQ. SGA is wise beyond his years on the court. He rarely gets sped up or rattled by the defense, and he’s an excellent passer who always has a plan for what to do with the ball. He knows how to take advantage of a mismatch: He can get to his preferred spots on the floor and force the defense to send help. Clippers head coach Doc Rivers, a former NBA point guard, is known for being tough on young point guards. But Doc didn’t have any issues allowing Gilgeous-Alexander to run the offense as a rookie, moving him into the starting lineup a few weeks into the season and increasing his role during the next six months. The most telling number from his rookie season was his limited number of turnovers (1.7 per game). He doesn’t make a lot of mistakes.
SGA, unlike Luka Doncic and Trae Young, wasn’t given an unlimited green light on a bad team. His usage rate (18.2) paled in comparison to that of both Luka (29.6) and Trae (27.7). He excelled in a smaller role on a veteran team that won 48 games and pushed the Warriors to six games in the first round. His relatively pedestrian stats (10.8 points on 47.6 percent shooting, 3.3 assists, 2.8 rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game) are more impressive once you put them in that context.
[spoiler]Gilgeous-Alexander was the rare rookie who didn’t tire over the course of the season. He went from averaging 8.4 points on 48.8 percent shooting and 3.6 assists per game in October to 14.2 points on 52.3 percent shooting and 4.5 assists per game in March. SGA was even better in the playoffs, with two brilliant performances against the Warriors: 25 points on 9-for-15 shooting in Game 4 and 22 points on 8-for-14 shooting and six assists in Game 6. He was also the primary defender on Klay Thompson, an assignment few young players would ever get.
Shot creation and getting to the rim are the strengths of his offensive game. Gilgeous-Alexander isn’t an elite athlete, but he knows how to change speeds and keep the defense off balance, and his size means he needs only a crack of daylight to get his shot off.
There is no ceiling to how good SGA can be. The national perception hasn’t quite caught up with his talent.
This kid is young and I'm trying to temper my expectations. It's hard because if I were to design my ideal pg, he checks almost every box.
Everything is there, just give him time to grow into and best fulfill his potential. He doesn't rush or try to do too much, I think that's a good thing at this point. He's gonna be a really good player for you, I don't think we know what his upper ceiling is gonna be but at the very least I doubt you will be disappointed. I hope he kicks ass for you guys the next few years.