Oklahoma City Thunder: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander expected to be an all-star this season

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander should be an all-star this season for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Coming into the 2021-22 NBA season, as always every young star is looking to elevate their game. Being that this is some players’ third or fourth season in the NBA, many have goals to potentially become a top player this season. One of the forgotten gems of the 25 and younger class is Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who is expected to make another huge leap as the leader of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

When it comes to younger players across the NBA, Alexander’s name doesn’t stand out compared to others in Zion Williamson, LaMelo Ball, Ja Morant, etc. The Canadian doesn’t necessarily show a lot of flashy plays and athleticism that stand out compared to his competitors. Despite showing different dynamics in his game, Alexander has shown to be a fan favorite due to his high IQ and ability to make great plays.

Through Alexander’s first three seasons in the NBA, he continued to show promise as a franchise leader due to his maturity.

So far, Alexander has had a great journey through his first three seasons. He has figured out how to succeed in the NBA and continues to take an extra leap each year. He also continues to be a pest as a defender as he puts pressure on the perimeter player. Playing with Chris Paul during the 2019-20 season also helped Alexander become a better leader. As the two paired together in the backcourt, they both led the way with their grit and tenacity on both ends.

As Paul departs Oklahoma City before the 2021 season, it meant that the Thunder organization was going in a new direction. The team had an impressive amount of young players with little experience. This was an opportunity for Alexander to take the keys as the franchise leader. Although the Thunder missed the playoffs this past season. Alexander showed that with a little more experience, he can lead a team to success.

Alexander averaged 23.7 points along with six assists during the 2020-21 season. It seemed as the season continued to progress, Alexander became more comfortable as a leader on the floor. It wouldn’t be just his scoring that set the tone. Alexander made sure to help others find a rhythm and once again was a defensive pest oftentimes. Alexander’s season stood out to many insiders despite the Thunder’s horrible record. It allows him to carry momentum into another successful season.

As Alexander and the Thunder prepare for this season, the odds are still against their favor to be a contender in the Western Conference. But they can still compete at the highest level and put the world on notice. The question for Alexander is where can he go next as far as helping the team develop. The main priority that he has to accomplish is to continue to set the tone for his teammates. As long as he is assertive every night, the Thunder will always have a shot at winning games.

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Expect Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to become an all-star for the first time in his career. The 23-year-old has placed himself to a point where he will continue to elevate and gain the attention he deserves. Although I expect Alexander’s numbers to be the same as last year, if he can lead OKC to a better record it will be no question for him to have another all-star caliber season.