The new-look Oklahoma City Thunder kicked off their training camp on Tuesday, and things are already getting chirpy between a pair of new additions: 14-year veteran Chris Paul, and second-year guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
After practice on Friday, Gilgeous-Alexander told reporters that he has been the better shooter between him and Paul since the start of training camp.
“Personally, it’s been fun because I beat Chris in every shooting drill, so y’all can tell him that when he comes,” Gilgeous-Alexander said, via @okcthunder. “But, yeah, he challenges me. It’s been fun. Obviously he’s been doing this a lot longer than I have, so I get to pick his brain a little bit and learn things.”
Paul vehemently denied the former Kentucky guard’s claim and encouraged the team’s video staff to record them during practice.
— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) October 4, 2019
The question is: Who should NBA fans believe?
Gilgeous-Alexander shot a better percentage from behind the arc than Paul last season, but on 1.6 fewer attempts per game than Paul. The former Rockets star is also a career 37 percent three-point shooter and is only two years removed from shooting 41.1 percent from three-point territory on five attempts per game.
If I was a betting man, I’d put my money on Paul. However, if Gilgeous-Alexander has been knocking down three-pointers on a consistent basis, that’s good news for the Thunder. Outside of Paul and Danilo Gallinari, who shot 43.4 percent from behind the arc on 5.5 attempts per game last season, the Thunder don’t have a ton of shooting on their roster. If Gilgeous-Alexander shows he can be a reliable three-point threat, both he and the team will be father along than most people thought.
Gilgeous-Alexander will have the opportunity to show of his 3-point shooting ability when the Thunder host the Dallas Mavericks at the BOK Center in Tulsa, OK. If footage of his shooting comes out before then, you can probably guess who orchestrated it.