Opinion: We’ve yet to see Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s Ceiling

Following a season full of career-bests, Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander's best basketball is still ahead of him.
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Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has been an ever-evolving revelation of a star for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Despite missing the end of the season due to a plantar fasciitis issue, Gilgeous-Alexander had his best season to date in year three.

Defining NBA stars jumps can be a difficult thing. Normally happening in the third or fourth season, emergence into stardom is usually apparent.

And it was for Gilgeous-Alexander last season.

Scoring 23.7 points, grabbing 4.7 rebounds and dishing out 5.9 assists per game, Gilgeous-Alexander unlocked an entirely new persona as an NBA player.

But with consistent improvement in each season of his young career, the young guard’s ceiling is still undiscovered.

Comparisons are tough for SGA. There have certainly been shifty, do-it-all guards, but not many that have grown up in the 3-point era.

Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Penny Hardaway and Tony Parker come to mind, but Gilgeous-Alexander has already surpassed both scoring-wise with a 41 percent clip from three, and still has a bit of a different archetype.

It’s going to be hard to get much better than 50 percent from the floor and 41 percent from three, but there’s plenty of room for improvement in other areas.

Playmaking wise, Gilgeous-Alexander has yet to reach the level of Hardaway and Parker, but he can hold his own as a floor general.

Any jump in playmaking would propel him into an entirely other echelon. He’s already a top-30 passer, statistically.


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Aside from playmaking, SGA’s defense could use the biggest boost. His length allows him to hold his own amongst guards, but he doesn’t quite have the instincts of a natural defender.

All-in-all, jumps will be made in Gilgeous-Alexander's game. Even if its minute, habits and instincts will be continually developed.

One thing is certain: a similar jump to last year in year four, and we’ll be putting the super before star for Gilgeous-Alexander.