The Oklahoma City Thunder continue to be one of the NBA’s biggest surprises this season, thanks in large part to a leap from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander into superstardom.
The fifth-year guard is averaging 31.1 points, 6.0 assists, and 4.8 rebounds per game while shooting more than 50 percent from the field, as he’s cemented his status as one of the league’s best young players. Despite the Thunder not having No. 2 overall pick Chet Holmgren and a roster with few household names, Gilgeous-Alexander gives them a chance just about every night because, even though defenses know he’s the engine, they just can’t stop him from getting to his spots.
His stepback jumper has become one of the most lethal in the NBA this season, as his long strides allow him to create tons of space and his continued improvement shooting from distance makes him a threat from the midrange out well beyond the three-point arc. On Wednesday night, Nuggets reserve Davon Reed learned just how filthy SGA’s handles are, when the star stopped on a dime while driving and pulled the string on a behind the back move that made Reed take a seat on the floor while Gilgeous-Alexander calmly drilled the jumper.
We see players go to the ground a fair bit in the NBA, but there’s often some contact with an off arm or a trip that helps drop the defender. This, however, is as clean as you’ll see, as Reed just simply can’t deal with the quick deceleration from SGA and gets caught going over his feet as he tries to recover. As always, the most important part of any move like this is making the shot to complete the highlight, and Gilgeous-Alexander did just that on his way to another big night against Denver.