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Shai Away

Shot by Alex Bierens de Haan

There is no denying that Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is having a fantastic year so far. Certifying himself as an NBA All Star Starter in the upcoming game in February 2023. This season alone he’s averaging 31 ppg, 52% from the field, 92% in free throws and R36% from 3pt range. Although OKC has been one of the teams speculated to tank this year to position themselves in this upcoming draft in 2023. With Shai being aggressive and making the right decisions , it’s earned himself and the team as a whole the attention they deserve. What’s also remarkable about his game at this moment in time is that in a copy cat league today where its pivotal to shoot from 3 point range he doesn’t need too. For example from his offensive prowess the moment his defender is guarding him in the paint that’s where he’s most dangerous. He can hit you with a hesitation or pivots until he finds the slightest open space possible to get his shot off or pass it to an open shooter in the perimeter.            

    On the defensive end of his game he is very active. He looks like he relies on his instincts to read an ongoing play to react. Uses his wingspan and hands to deflect and get steals on the ball. Also what can’t be unnoticed is his ability to defend the perimeter. He’s not the fastest on ball defender but use his length and quick hands to contest , steal and chase down blocks on the ball. 

Here’s a highlight of Shai’s game at the wizards game on November 16, 2022 by ZH Hightlights 


First play he drives up to the lane stops does two pump fakes by which the defender doesn’t fall for so he gives it up to the open shooter in the perimeter for the assist.

 Next he backs his defender in the paint using his size and length. Turns around for the fadeaway shot.

His big sets a screen for the switch as the big rolls to the basket. Shai does a crossover then a first step then switches the ball to his left hand as he drives to the basket for the layup and a foul call.

Blows by his defender to drive to basket without any rim protection for the slam dunk.

There’s one play where Shai drives to the ring wing gives his defender the push for separation and pulls up the midrange shot .                                                                                   

Then he drives up to the paint crossover behind his back , pump fakes, pivots to his left and makes the layup basket.

Final play is when he brings the up ball cross dribble at the perimeter, step back 3 for the lead.

    With a healthy Chet Holmgren on OKC along with Shai and Josh Giddey , they can potentially make some noise in the future in the Western Conference. A legitimate argument can be made that this year alone proves so far that he can contribute on a winning team. If there’s one area he can improve on is his 3 point shooting. His catch and shoot percentage has been improving every year since he’s been in the league and shoot off screens. It’s the shot attempts off jumpers is where he can improve the most because he isn’t consistent. But with his playmaking ability, craftiness with his ball handling , defense, finish at the rim, he can considered on an All NBA Team for years to come. 


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