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Friday Bolts: Shai Praise

Friday Bolts: Shai Praise

On the heels of a 5-game losing streak, the Oklahoma City Thunder righted the ship, ran off 3 wins in a row, and then got buzzsawed by the Kevin Durant-less Phoenix Suns.  But OKC remains just a game out of the play-in tournament, in large part due to the continued leap Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has made this season.

Throughout the year, SGA has been heaped praise, and the good reviews just keep on coming.

Chris Mannix (SI.com) wrote a feature on how Shai has added gas to OKC's rebuilding effort.

It’s easy to see why Oklahoma City, which in August 2021 gave him a five-year max extension worth at least $173 million, is so invested. It’s been 11 years since the Thunder’s last—and only—Finals appearance. They have built an enviable young core and see Gilgeous-Alexander as the ideal player to lead it. Inside the locker room, OKC coach Mark Daigneault says SGA is “contagious” and “ruthlessly disciplined,” with teammates eager to follow him. His recent success hasn’t changed him, either. Says Daigneault, “It’s almost like the success reinforces his process to himself.”

Too good be true?  That's SGA says Berry Tramel (the Oklahoman).

“Part of the reason why it’s too good to be true, is because he doesn’t separate himself out,” Daigneault said of SGA, “even with all the temptations and all the attention and status and money, and all the stuff that could tempt you to separate yourself.
Tramel: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is yet another too-good-to-be-true Thunder superstar
Kevin Durant was a too-good-to-be-true Thunder superstar, but OKC is ready to take the plunge again with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

The latest NBA 2K ratings dropped, and SGA moved up.

In addition to SGA's elevation, OKC's success has also been spurred by arguably one of the best rookies in the league.  In fact, the second-best rookie in the league.

Kia Rookie Ladder: Jalen Williams rises to No. 2 in latest ranking
The Thunder forward continues to impress with his all-around skills.

Per Brian Windhorst, it was OKC's mission to land J-Dub.

OKC’s other draft-night mission, plus the future of Wilt’s storied record
The Thunder might have found this season’s biggest draft-night steal, while NBA scoring sprees are reviving a decades-long question.

OKC's other mission was to nab Chet Holmgren and no. 2, and the Thunder's top draft pick is showing positive signs in his rehabilitation.