When Oklahoma City Thunder traded Russell Westbrook and Paul George in the pre-season, not many would have thought them to have a kind of season they are currently experiencing. Oklahoma are currently seventh in the Western Conference with a 23-17 record and look good to qualify for the play-offs. While Chris Paul has been good on his own, the Thunder have had other factors contributing to their success post-Westbrook. 21-year old Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, for one, has been a find for years to come by.
In July 2019, when Oklahoma gave away Paul George, they got Danilo Gallinari, Gilgeos-Alexander and five first-round draft picks. Quite a bargain! But many thought Oklahoma City would take a little time to rebuild. However, the rise of Gilgeous-Alexander through the ranks was quicker than expected, which has been a huge boost for the team.
He recorded 24 points on his debut in October. On Tuesday, Shai made history when he became the youngest player to register a 20-rebound triple-double, passing Shaquille O’Neal. Gilgeous-Alexander’s 20 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists against Minnesota Timberwolves made him the fifth Oklahoma City player to register a triple-double. He also became the only guard other than Russell Westbrook to register a 20-point, 20-rebound triple-double in the last 30 years.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (20 PTS, CAREER-HIGH 20 REB, 10 AST) records his 1st career triple-double to propel the @okcthunder!
Danilo Gallinari: 30 PTS, 3 3PM
Steven Adams: 13 PTS, 11 REB, 5 AST pic.twitter.com/LAkJ8GHez1
— NBA (@NBA) January 14, 2020
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: From Toronto to Oklahoma
Gilgeous-Alexander was born in Toronto, Ontario on July 12, 1998. He played college basketball for Kentucky. After initially being behind another guard in the team’s pecking order, it did not take long for Alexander to start leading Kentucky. In April 2018, he declared for the 2018 Draft. Charlotte Hornets drafted him with the 11th overall pick but was traded to Los Angeles Clippers on the same day.
After making his way playing in the NBA Summer League, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was traded to Oklahoma City prior to the 2019/20 NBA season and he is proving to be quite a find for the team.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs Minnesota Timberwolves game recap: