Denver Nuggets coach Michael Malone was straight forward when asked about Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who is having an MVP season despite his team’s struggles.
Malone believes Gilgeous-Alexander is dangerous simply “when he’s on the floor,” the coach told reporters prior to Wednesday night’s matchup against Oklahoma City.
According to multiple NBA betting sites, the Thunder guard is the No. 1 favorite to win Most Improved Player of the Year in 2023. Check out which sports books are giving the Nuggets the eighth-best odds to win the championship this season.
Asked Coach Malone what part of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s game is most challenging and he said “when he’s on the floor.”
“I don’t think the kid has any weaknesses in terms of offensive game and the arsenal he has.”
Leads the NBA in drives per game. OKC leads the NBA in PITP.
— Katy Winge (@katywinge) November 23, 2022
“I don’t think the kid has any weaknesses in terms of offensive game and the arsenal he has,” the Nuggets coach added. “The guy is an MVP candidate.”
Oklahoma City ranks sixth in the NBA in scoring, averaging 116.4 points per game. In addition to carrying the team offensively, the Thunder guard leads the league this season in drives per game and 2-point field goals (162).
Nuggets coach Michael Malone says Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander doesn’t have any weaknesses in his game
Through 16 starts this season, Gilgeous-Alexander is averaging career highs of 31.1 points, 6.0 assists, 1.8 steals, and 1.4 blocks per game. Plus, he’s shooting 52.6% from the field and 39.1% from outside the arc.
Moreover, the Kentucky product ranks fifth in points (497), third in points per game, second in field goals (180), fifth in free throws (119), and sixth in player efficiency rating (28.3).
Quite a few fans are in full agreement with the Nuggets coach.
Of course, the Thunder are using SGA in 32.9% of plays with the guard on the court. Not to mention, his true shooting percentage is an impressive 62.2%.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander joins Russell Westbrook (4x) and Kevin Durant (once in 2014) as the only players in Thunder franchise history with three straight games of 35 points and 5 assists. The most is four straight by Westbrook in Feb.-March 2015. pic.twitter.com/jcasLdSKE6
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 17, 2022
Last Wednesday, in Oklahoma City’s 121-120 loss to the Washington Wizards, the 24-year-old tied his career high in scoring with 42 points. He finished 14-of-22 (63.6%) shooting from the floor and 2-of-3 (66.7%) from downtown.
SGA joined Russell Westbrook (four times) and Kevin Durant (one time) as the only players in Thunder franchise history with three consecutive games of 35 points and five assists. From February through March 2015, Westbrook recorded four straight.
While the Thunder guard has not yet logged a double-double this season, the fifth-year player is still playing the best basketball of his NBA career.
Furthermore, the Nuggets play the Thunder on Wednesday night at 8 p.m. ET. A few sportsbooks show Oklahoma City as a 1-point favorite over Denver.
Our writing team here at Basketball Insiders would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! While there are not any NBA games on Thanksgiving, fans will tune in to watch football. Enjoy your feasts.