Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has been an All-Star-level player for a while now, but he’s yet to officially earn the distinction. Barring injury, that’s almost certain to change this season, his fifth, that continues to be a career campaign for the Thunder point guard.
SGA’s most recent dominant installment came Wednesday night when he hung 42 points on the Wizards, hitting 14 of his 22 shots including what proved to be the game-winning 3-pointer with just over a second remaining.
With consecutive 37-point performances preceding Wednesday’s outburst, SGA is just the third player in franchise history to record three straight games of at least 35 points. Russell Westbrook produced four such performances during his OKC tenure and Kevin Durant did it once.
Gilgeous-Alexander, who added six rebounds and seven assists on Wednesday, scored 11 points over the final five minutes and change. He’s been super efficient in the clutch this season, and as arguably the most indefensible penetrator in the league, he’s shooting better than 40 percent from 3 (on a more selective diet) as well.
It adds up to over 32 points a game, third best in the league, on 54-40-90 splits. Oh, and SGA is playing defense this year, too. He might be the Most Improved Player if the season ended today, though I’d give that to Desmond Bane.
That distinction seems inadequate for what SGA is doing anyway. This is All-NBA stuff. If the Thunder were a better team (they’re a lot better than you might realize), it would be worthy of MVP consideration. The happy medium, again, should be SGA’s first All-Star selection.
We know it’s always crowded in the West, but there are spots available. Donovan Mitchell and Dejounte Murray both defected to the Eastern Conference. Chris Paul could drop off. So could Rudy Gobert. Andrew Wiggins likely won’t make it again at this rate. If SGA continues to play anywhere near the level at which he’s started, he’s a lock to snag one of those spots.