The Oklahoma City Thunder have been the surprise team of this season driven by the consistent dominance of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

It’s one thing to be consistent, but the manner by which Gilgeous-Alexander has dominated on a nightly basis is what sets him apart. He is averaging 31.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 2.1 steals, and one block per game through his first 61 appearances and has already scored at least 30 points on 47 different occasions this season.

This ties Gilgeous-Alexander for the Thunder franchise record with Kevin Durant, who achieved this in two separate campaigns, yet it is almost certain that he is going to set a new one as Oklahoma City still has 19 regular season games left on their schedule.


Gilgeous-Alexander tied the Thunder 30-point record in their most recent win which came against the Miami Heat. He carried Oklahoma City on his back, scoring 10 points in the final 3:04 of the fourth quarter, to help them win by seven, 107-100. By the end of the contest, he had 37 points on 13-of-25 field goal shooting, five rebounds, six assists, a steal, and two blocks.

These types of performances have become typical for the 25-year-old guard in recent weeks as he has found another level since scoring only 19 points in the Thunder’s mid-January loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. In Oklahoma City’s 23 games since that defeat, he has reached the 30-point mark in 19 of them and has not scored less than 20 in each one. The team has inevitably benefited as well as they have gone 17-6 during this stretch, including nine wins in their last 11 outings.

This consistency has helped Oklahoma City rise to first place in the West standings. Their 44-19 record has them ahead of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Denver Nuggets by 0.5 and one game, respectively. If they can hold on to the top seed by the end of the regular season, it would be a boon to Gilgeous-Alexander’s case to be named this year’s NBA Most Valuable Player.

He faces a tough challenge in the race for this year’s award in two-time winner Nikola Jokic of the Nuggets, but if he can continue to score at this pace and these performances keep leading to wins, he should have a fighting chance to be named the MVP.

No player has improved as much as Gilgeous-Alexander has over these past few years and this is a testament to the work that he has put in. The Thunder have returned to the upper echelon of the Western Conference much quicker than they expected thanks to him. What is even scarier for the rest of the league though is that the best is clearly yet to come for Gilgeous-Alexander and Oklahoma City.