As the new NBA season comes closer, Oklahoma City Thunder’s star, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (SGA), has expressed a desire to play a different role for the team, focusing more on off-ball. This major shift comes after Gilgeous-Alexander’s outstanding season last year when he made career highs in points, field-goal attempts, and usage rate.
The recent development of Josh Giddey, Jalen Williams, and Chet Holmgren’s return promises a more balanced offensive strategy for the Thunder. This will ease the offensive burden of Gilgeous-Alexander. “The best teams that have played the game,” Gilgeous-Alexander said. “The teams that have won the most games, most championships play together.”
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Chet Holmgren will mesh very well together pic.twitter.com/Vsnh7FzXqI
— Hoops Alley (@thehoopsalley) October 18, 2023
Comparing himself with Michael Jordan, SGA said, “I don’t know if you saw ‘The Last Dance’ documentary, but there’s a point in Michael Jordan’s career where he had to learn the triangle offense and playing (without) the ball in his hands 24/7. So if Michael Jordan has to do it, I definitely have to do it.”
Instead of demanding a more centralized role after his All-NBA season during which the Thunder went 40-42 largely because of his performance, the 25-year-old takes inspiration from basketball legend Michael Jordan. This self-aware and team-oriented perspective from the young star shows his maturity and vision for a championship team.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander reveals LeBron James was not his idol while growing up
Earlier this year, OKC Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander said something about LeBron James that has caught a lot of attention. Many people interpreted Gilgeous-Alexander’s words as a direct jab at James. However, a closer look at the context reveals a different story.
Gilgeous-Alexander’s comments came from an interview segment in the league’s “Pass The Rock” mini-documentary series. When the interviewer prompted Gilgeous-Alexander to discuss James as his idol, he clarified that he didn’t grow up idolizing James’s style of play.
The Ringer released their top 100 NBA Player rankings
4 Thunder players crack the top 100!
10. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
64. Josh Giddey
71. Jalen Williams
88. Chet Holmgren
What do we feel about it? 👀 pic.twitter.com/VYCJFPUe9u
— ThunderChets (@ThunderChats) October 18, 2023
“I never liked (LeBron’s) game,” Gilgeous-Alexander said. “To me, when I was younger, he was just super athletic, I wasn’t that. He was 6-foot-8 and super strong and I wasn’t that either. So I never related. (I was more of a Kobe fan). He just kills you with skill.”
Gilgeous-Alexander went on to praise James’s continued dominance in the NBA. Reflecting on James’s outstanding career, he said, “He’s averaging 30″. And predicted that even with a gradual decrease in his yearly average, James could maintain his performance for another four years.
Interestingly, he also highlighted that he was a bigger fan of Kobe Bryant because he connected with Bryant’s skill-based style of play more. Gilgeous-Alexander’s approach on the court mainly relies on refined mechanics, which he uses to find his way to the basket, as he is not athletically gifted.