Despite the rumors that Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is “frustrated with the losing” in Oklahoma City, sources close to the 24-year-old tell Sideline Sources’ Wenzell Ortiz that there is “zero” truth to those claims.
Burgeoning reports of Gilgeous-Alexander’s exasperation with the lack of emphasis on winning in Oklahoma City began circulating when an anonymous front-office member told Sam Amick of The Athletic that the Torontonian’s frustration is ongoing. These rumors purportedly aligned with TSN’s Josh Lewenberg’s news — which he reported in September — that the Raptors are monitoring Gilgeous-Alexander’s availability.
However, sources close to the Canadian native emphasized that there is “zero” verisimilitude to these reports. In fact, Gilgeous-Alexander wants to be part of what they are building in Oklahoma City. Despite not reaching his basketball prime yet, he also intends on being a veteran presence for the franchise for years to come.
Furthermore, the source surmises that teams interested in Gilgeous-Alexander created the factitious story to ignite tension in Oklahoma City.
This report is congruent with what Gilgeous-Alexander had to say prior to the start of the season. In an interview with The Athletic’s Andrew Schlecht, the former Wildcat said he understands what comes with signing a five-year extension. Additionally, he does not believe the Thunder will lose for much longer.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Looks Like a Future Superstar
It is no surprise that Gilgeous-Alexander’s trade availability is a salient topic in the NBA. The fifth-year guard is currently seventh on NBA.com’s MVP ladder and possesses the numbers to back it up. He is averaging 31.1 points per game (fifth in the league), six assists, and 4.6 rebounds. The shooting splits are also all-world. He comes in at 52.6% from the field, 39.1% from beyond the arc, and 90.8% from the charity stripe.
For avid analytics fans, Gilgeous-Alexander is their cup of tea, as well. He is shooting 72.5% at the rim, 51.3% from 10-16 feet, and 52.2% from 16 feet to the 3-point line. The former Clipper is also fifth in win shares and VORP; he leads the league in transition scoring and drives.
On top of his scintillating offensive prowess, Gilgeous-Alexander has transformed into a stalwart defender. He is often guarding the opposing team’s best player and averaging 1.8 steals and 1.4 blocks per contest. For context, there have only been 38 seasons where a player has averaged that number of blocks and steals. Moreover, his defensive feats become even more impressive when coupled with his offensive numbers.
Gilgeous-Alexander is on pace to be just the fourth player under 6-foot-8 to average at least 29 points, one steal, and one block over the course of a season.
The soon-to-be first-time All-Star has the Thunder in the thick of things in the Western Conference. With a record of 7-10, they are currently 12th in the West and two games out of the Play-In.