NBA

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Might be the Most Valuable Part of the Thunder’s Paul George Trade

Former Clippers player Shai Gilgeous-Alexander might be the true prize from the Oklahoma City Thunder's wheeling and dealing during the 2019 offseason.

When the Oklahoma City Thunder traded for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in exchange for MVP candidate Paul George, it looked like they were going into a full rebuild. General Manager Sam Presti had the Los Angeles Clippers right where he wanted them and was able to get several picks and a promising rookie in Gilgeous-Alexander.

What can we expect from the young guard in his first season with the Thunder? Keep reading as we go over the possibility of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander becoming a star in OKC.

Trading Paul George

During the first full week of NBA free agency, Kawhi Leonard reached out to Paul George about possibly joining the Los Angeles Clippers with him. George went to Presti and requested a trade from the Thunder. Instead of dealing with a long, drawn-out tumultuous season, Presti obliged, and OKC picked up SGA, Danilo Gallinari, and multiple first-round picks. 

It looked like he would be paired with Russell Westbrook for the next couple of seasons, giving them one of the most dynamic backcourts in the Western Conference.

Thunder deal Russell Westbrook

After trading Paul George, Westbrook saw that it was only a matter of time before a rebuild was going down in Oklahoma City. He also requested a trade and was dealt to the Houston Rockets for Chris to Paul and more draft picks. That opens up the opportunity for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to have a lot more playing time, and he could play well off the ball with Chris Paul.

What to expect from the Shia Gilgeous-Alexander in a Thunder uniform

This past season as a rookie, SGA averaged 10 points, three rebounds, and three assists per game. When you look at his numbers per 36 minutes, it turns into 14-4-4.

He could be one of the best up-and-coming young guards in the league. Trae Young got a lot of praise last season, but fans who missed out on Clippers games didn’t see how good Gilgeous-Alexander could be.

We think he can put up 15 to 16 points per game in Billy Donovan’s offense, as the roster won’t be so heavily dependent on one player like it was when Russell Westbrook was leading the team.

How many draft picks does Oklahoma City have?

Former Clippers player Shai Gilgeous-Alexander might be the true prize from the Oklahoma City Thunder's wheeling and dealing during the 2019 offseason.
The Thunder added Shai Gilgeous-Alxander (left) and multiple draft picks this during the 2019 offseason. | Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images

After trading two superstars, the Oklahoma City Thunder now have a treasure trove of first-round picks. Sam Presti has always done a good job of using low first-round picks to develop players that fly under the radar during the draft.

Here’s a look at the list of Thunder draft picks gained from the Clippers and Rockets:

  • 2020: first-round pick from Denver 
  • 2020: second-round pick from Chicago
  • 2021: first-round pick from Miami or Houston. 
  • 2022 first-round pick from the Clippers
  • 2023 first-round pick swap with the Clippers
  • 2023 first-round pick from Miami
  • 2024 first-round pick from Houston 
  • 2024 second-round pick from Memphis
  • 2025 first-round pick from the Clippers or Rockets
  • 2026 first-round pick from Houston
  • 2026 first-round pick from the Clippers

There’s no way the Thunder stay in a rebuild for long, as they can either draft smart, talented players, or use the assets to trade for superstars in the future. Some of their notable late draft picks include Steven Adams and Andre Roberson, arguably two of the best overall defenders in the NBA. We think Presti can get at least one or two valuable players out of this set of draft picks.

Are you excited for Gilgeous-Alexander in a Thunder uniform?

Do you think Shai Gilgeous-Alexander will have a great career in Oklahoma City? Based on what he accomplished in Los Angeles and his relative youth, he could be a budding superstar. We think he can potentially earn an All-Star berth at some point in his career.