With a new NBA season right around the corner, preseason lists are coming out left and right. Tuesday morning, ESPN released the NBArank 2022, ranking the top 100 players heading into the 2022-23 season.
Oklahoma City netted two players on the list, even if their respective spot’s may have been a bit low. Josh Giddey was ranked No. 81, while Oklahoma City’s best all-around player, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, checked in at No. 48.
For Thunder fans, this has to be a sigh of relief. Oklahoma City seems to finally be on the upswing, and now they have the talent and players to show for it. With another big year for Lu Dort, and Chet Holmgren rejoining the team next summer, Oklahoma City could claim four players in the Top 100 next season.
Giddey sliding into the Top 100 after an extra productive rookie season should be an encouraging sign for OKC’s front office. His year two jump could be something special with better floor spacing and an improved jump shot.
With Gilgeous-Alexander, however, slipping to No. 48 is definitely interesting. Heading into last season, SGA was pinned at No. 36. He upped his averages in every statistical category, yet fell in the rankings. The only thing that comes to mind would be Oklahoma City’s losing record but, then again, Gilgeous-Alexander is not the reason for the Thunder’s losses. He’s actually the one keeping them afloat.
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Gilgeous-Alexander averaged 24.5 points, 5.9 assists and five rebounds a season ago, while shooting 45.3% from the floor. His percentages from deep dropped to just 30%, but that was clearly an outlier year in his career.
Entering the 2022-23 season, Gilgeous-Alexander has a great chance to prove that he’s a budding star in the NBA. With the Thunder improving the talent level on the roster, the floor should open up a lot more for SGA. He’s had to create for himself over the past two years quite a bit, and with the addition of Jalen Williams, plus the improvement of Giddey and Tre Mann, he’ll have a chance to get much better looks.
It wouldn't be the least bit shocking to see both Giddey and Gilgeous-Alexander significantly higher next season, in addition to a teammate or two joining the pair.