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Oklahoma City Thunder have found the NBA’s next superstar in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

The Oklahoma City Thunder have found the NBA's next superstar as Shai-Gilegous Alexander is having an unthinkable start to the season.

Austin Konenski
NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Washington Wizards
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander might be the NBA’s best player that no one is talking about as he plays for a team that sits in 11th place in the Western Conference with a 7-8 record.

Let’s dive into Alexander’s history in the NBA and show why he is the league’s next superstar player to emerge.

Shai-Gilgeous Alexander’s career in the NBA before the 2022-’23 season

Oklahoma City Thunder, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Paul George
Oct 27, 2022; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) and LA Clippers guard Paul George (13) walks down the court during a time out during the first half at Paycom Center. Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Alexander was picked by the Charlotte Hornets in the 2018 NBA Draft as the 11th selection before he was traded that same night to the Los Angeles Clippers for the 12th pick, Miles Bridges, and two future second-round picks.

The young guard showed promise in his first NBA season as he averaged 10.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 3.3 assists while shooting 47.6% from the field and 36.7% from the three-point line.

However, the Clippers did not keep Alexander long as they traded him along with Danilo Gallinari and five first-round picks to the Thunder for superstar player Paul George. As it stands today, the trade ended up being a mistake as Los Angeles lost out on Alexander.

Ever since that offseason, the 24-year-old has been a staple to the Thunder and has seen improvement every single year. Alexander has seen his points per game jump each season of his young career.

The 2022-’23 season appears to represent his breakout as a star player in the league. Let’s dive into the start of Alexander’s season and why he is set to do this for years to come in the NBA.

Related: Oklahoma City Thunder’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is by far the NBA’s most-improved player

Oklahoma City Thunder find gold with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander as the NBA’s next superstar

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Boston Celtics
Nov 14, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) dribbles the ball up the court during the second half of a game against the Boston Celtics at the TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

The Thunder have found gold with Alexander emerging as the NBA’s next superstar. This might not have been expected when they traded away George for Alexander, but the future is incredibly bright.

Alexander is averaging 32.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 1.9 steals, and 1.4 blocks while shooting 54.6% from the field and 40.0% from beyond the arc in 14 games this season.

It goes without saying that Oklahoma City is absolutely thrilled bout this scenario with Alexander panning out this year. While there have been reports linking Alexander to other teams, they would need to give the Thunder a fortune to let him go.

Quite frankly, there is no reason why he should be moved any time soon. Alexander signed a five-year, $179.29 million contract that ties him with Oklahoma City through the 2027 season.

The Thunder have the pieces around Alexander to build a team that is capable of winning in the future. There is enough young talent to gel around him so when they are ready to compete, the roster will have the chemistry.

Until the organization starts to win consistently, Alexander will likely be brought up in trade talks since players of his caliber usually do not stick around with losing teams very long.

However, even if he was moved, there’s no way a player can fill up the entire box score while eclipsing 32 points per game on a team with an almost .500 record and not be a star elsewhere.

This is a legitimate stardom that has been born overnight. Alexander is only 24 years old and will perform even better and better. There is still room for growth as he averages 3.4 turnovers per game.

Plus, if he can continue shooting 94.0% on 7.7 attempts from the free-throw line, there is no ceiling for him in the playoffs. Free throws are an integral part of the game when it becomes a half-court setting.

Alexander is a natural talent and even though he is on a team with a 7-8 record, it is time to start recognizing his game because he will be around this league for a long time.