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How Good can Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Become?

On Monday, Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander accomplished something incredible. He became the youngest player ever to record a 20 rebound triple-double, as he led his team to a 117-104 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Gilgeous-Alexander finished the game with 20 points, (a career-high) 20 rebounds and 10 assists. This was his first triple-double in his young career, and he made it a historic one. He became the fourth second-year player to record a 20-20 triple-double. He is also the second guard in the past 30 seasons to do so. The other second-year players to get a 20-20 triple-double include Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley and Oscar Robertson. The only other guard to do it is former Thunder guard Russell Westbrook.

Out of all of these players, Gilgeous-Alexander is the youngest. At 21 years,185 days old,he achieved the 20-20 triple-double and joined the ranks of some of the NBA’s biggest names. So, it is a huge honor.

Gilgeous-Alexander is averaging a career-best in points this season (Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports)

Gilgeous-Alexander is having a good season, as he averages 19.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists He has improved in points per game and rebounds (by 9.1 points and 2.9 rebounds) and is arguably the Thunder’s go-to player. He has made tremendous strides, and at this rate will only get better. But how good can he be?

In his rookie season, Gilgeous-Alexander averaged 10.8 points and 2.8 assists. He was the 11th pick of the 2018 draft when he was selected by the Charlotte Hornets. He was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers shortly after in exchange for Miles Bridges. Gilgeous-Alexander played one season with the Clippers before being a part of a big offseason trade. He joined the Thunder when they traded Paul George to the Clippers. The Clippers sent Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari and draft picks to the Thunder for their star forward in George. Since then, Gilgeous-Alexander has improved significantly.

Besides his 20-20 triple-double, he tallied his career-high 32 points on Dec.20 and matched that twice in the same month (including one the night after). His performances have helped the Thunder become the seventh seed of the West  as they exceed their expectations.

The Thunder’s rebuild is off to a good start as they have a mixture of young players like Gilgeous-Alexander and veterans like Chris Paul, with Dennis Schroder coming off the bench. They also have a number of draft picks for the future. With an improving Gilgeous-Alexander, he and the Thunder can only get better.

 

Featured Image Courtesy of USA Today

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