How OKC Thunder Star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Has Pursued ‘The Best Version’ of Himself

After earning his first All-Star bid last season, Oklahoma City’s great guard has set his sights even higher in 2023-24.
After a fantastic 2022-23 season in which Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was named to his first All-Star team, it was tough to believe that the Kentucky product could take another step forward in his sixth NBA season.

Nonetheless, SGA has had another fantastic season from the All-NBA guard, who averages 30.3 points, 6.2 assists, 5.6 rebounds, and two steals per game.

Not only is Gilgeous-Alexander averaging career highs in rebounds and assists, but he also leads the NBA in steals.
The 6-foot-6 Canadian attributes his long-term offensive success and defensive progress to his routine and consistency.

“Throughout my years in the NBA, I’ve tried to create a routine and a schedule for myself,” Gilgeous-Alexander told Royce Young on a recent episode of The Path. “It ultimately provides me the best chance every night to feel the same way prior to the game. Give myself the best opportunity to perform at the highest level.”

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The results of Gilgeous-Alexander’s consistent routine have shown on the court, as the Thunder standout has recorded 51 games with at least 30 points this season, breaking OKC legend Kevin Durant’s franchise record and leading the league in 30-point outings.
Being able to score 30 points with regularity while also being a solid defender is an impressive feat, and SGA says that hours of training and practice from every spot the court have allowed him to have success on offense.

“I think it’s gotten to the point where, I feel really comfortable almost everywhere on the floor, Gilgeous-Alexander said. “I have a move or a certain shot that I like to shoot almost at every spot. Knowing that you can get to a spot and be comfortable every time you get there is the feeling I’m after and what my work goes towards.”

In addition to his scoring abilities, Oklahoma City’s lead guard enjoys assisting his teammates. This season, Jalen Williams, Chet Holmgren, and Lu Dort have all performed admirably.
Williams has improved again after winning All-Rookie honors last year, Dort has had one of his greatest shooting seasons, and Holmgren is projected to finish second in Rookie of the Year voting behind Victor Wembanyama.

How OKC Thunder Star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Has Pursued 'The Best Version'  of Himself
While each of the aforementioned players has worked to better their respective games, Gilgeous-Alexander’s lethal scoring ability has forced opponents to focus their efforts on the All-Star guard, giving other Thunder players additional opportunities.

“To win you have to be able to affect the game and not hinder the growth and success of other people,” she remarked. “The most important thing is to win big; that’s why you play, why you get up every morning, and why you work so hard throughout the offseason. You want to win the championship, and I’ll do whatever it takes.”
when earning All-Star and All-NBA honors in 2022-23, it appears that SGA will be named to the All-NBA team again when the current season ends. Gilgeous-Alexander is also a strong candidate for MVP after finishing sixth in voting for the Michael Jordan Trophy previous season.

After being a Play-In team previous season, Gilgeous-Alexander and his teammates’ development have resulted in the Thunder obtaining one of the top three seeds in the Western Conference, as well as a shot at the top slot heading into the regular season finale.

“I’m after greatness, I’m after the best version of myself and pushing those limits and seeing what they are,” she said.

The Thunder will face the Dallas Mavericks at the Paycom Center on Sunday afternoon, with the No. 1 seed in the West at stake. With a win, OKC would hold the top slot heading into the playoffs.

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