The Franchise heir apparent, SGA is an extremely talented 3rd year player, well on his way to superstardom. The year of apprenticeship he served under Chris Paul will pay massive dividends toward his development, and help him potentially reach the lofty heights of players such as KD and Westbrook when they were OKC youngsters. The coming rebuild and embodiment of Thunder U 2.0 starts with Shai and finding the right players to pair with him. Sam Presti and the Front Office showed their confidence in SGA and trust in his development with their trades of Chris Paul and Dennis Schroder, clearing the way for SGA to be the primary ballhandler. This Season is the ultimate “prove it” year for SGA – The path is clear for him to show what he can do, and demonstrate if he can truly be “The Guy” for OKC going forward.
SGA has a unique skillset in the NBA, with an impressive array of moves at his disposal to score close to the basket. While Thunder fans grew accustomed to Westbrook’s raw power and fury when crashing to the rim, or CP3’s methodical mid-range game, SGA is something else entirely. Utilizing dazzling footwork, flexibility to contort his long limbs in quirky ways, and a herkie-jerk stop-start speed, SGA is very crafty at scoring in the paint, (whether by contorted layups or silky floaters). Where SGA must take another step offensively, if he is to fully realize his tremendous potential, is his three-point shooting, (particularly step-back 3’s, a staple of NBA Superstars), and getting to the Free Throw Line. The players whose film I’d most want him to watch are James Harden and Paul George. Harden with his ability to draw obscene amounts of foul calls and trips to the Line, his otherworldly scoring ability from the perimeter, and smooth drives to the rim, would be the ultimate blueprint for Shai to follow offensively. If SGA can get his Free Throw Attempts up to the 10-12 per game range, and develop reliable or good step back 3 pointers, that would go a long way toward his superstar ascension.
Defensively, Paul George would be an excellent player for Shai to emulate. From his graceful use of long limbs to deflect shots and jump passing lanes, to his ability to never fully be out of position defensively, which allows him to gamble then recover quickly, PG is the archetype for perimeter defense in the modern NBA.
SGA is poised for a true breakout year, with the full support of the Front Office. The runway is cleared for him to show his talent, and he should be ready to make the most of this opportunity. The keys to the Franchise have been given to him, time to turn the key and drive!