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OKC Thunder Set To Rebuild Around Jumbo Guard Duo

By News Creatives Authors , in Business , at January 1, 1970

As the Oklahoma City Thunder continue to orchestrate their rebuild, they took what could be a huge step in the right direction in last week’s draft. 

With Shai Gilgeous-Alexander expected to sign a max extension with the Thunder over the coming weeks, perhaps the most important thing to get right with the rebuild is his partner in the backcourt. After selecting Josh Giddey with the sixth overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, that partner has been chosen.


Immediately becoming one of the most intriguing young guard duos in the NBA, Gilgeous-Alexander and Giddey create somewhat of an unorthodox pairing. 

Playing alongside a player like Gilgeous-Alexander is something that Giddey has not yet experienced after being the dominant ball handler last season with the Adelaide 36ers in Australia.

“I mean, when I was in Australia I didn’t really play with another point guard, I had the ball in my hands 90 percent of the time just because our two and three were just so non-ball dribbling and more spot up guys,” said Giddey on Saturday. “Playing with a guy like Shai, I’m really excited. It obviously takes the pressure off me to handle the ball all the time. I’m really excited, he’s obviously an all-star level talent, he’s a young guy as well with a bright future in the league. So I think playing the game is going to enhance my game.”

As the NBA shifts towards a positionless style of play, Oklahoma City is going all in. With Gilgeous-Alexander at 6-foot-6 and Giddey at 6-foot-9, they’re both going to be matchup nightmares for opposing defenses. While the game is getting more positionless, both have the ability to play three positions, from point guard to small forward. 

Their height also results in them projecting to be among the best rebounding guards in the league during the 2021-22 season

Additionally, both are extremely early in their careers, with Giddey being the second-youngest player in the NBA next season at 18 and Gilgeous-Alexander being 23. With that in mind, they both are extremely intelligent young players with an extremely high IQ. 

In terms of facilitating offense, things should run pretty smooth next season in OKC. Both of these young players possess the ability to thrive on or off the ball, making them effective regardless of where they are on the court. They’re both unselfish as well, dishing out high assist numbers for their respective teams last season. 

Furthermore, both members of the newly formed duo don’t have to score the ball to impact the game. Too many young players across the league are one-dimensional in the fact that the only upside they bring to their team is scoring points. Both Gilgeous-Alexander and Giddey do everything on the court, helping their team win whether they’re scoring or not. 

Last season in the NBL, the Australian star averaged 10.9 points, 7.5 assists and 7.4 rebounds per contest. 


With that in mind, Gilgeous-Alexander has improved as a scorer and has shown that when he needs to, he can get his team a bucket. He was a top-25 scorer in the NBA last season and one of only four players who averaged 20+ points per game on 50/40/80 splits. Gilgeous-Alexander had one of the highest percentages of unassisted points of anyone in the league, so playing alongside Giddey should only increase the variety of ways he can score.

Giddy has shown to be more of a pass-first guard to this point, but could develop more of a scoring mentality as he progresses in the NBA. His shot mechanics aren’t great, but that’s his only major flaw. His backcourt partner Gilgeous-Alexander started his career in a similar boat, but has improved his form and percentages through his three professional seasons. 

Over the next half-decade, as the Thunder build around this duo, they will provide flexibility in how the roster can be build with their versatility. With their ability to impact the game outside of scoring, Oklahoma City could still acquire their number one scorer through the draft or trade in the future and utilize Gilgeous-Alexander and Giddey as their second and third options.


If not, we’ve seen Gilgeous-Alexander be the team’s leading scorer in a season where the Thunder make the playoffs playing alongside veterans.  

While it will take some time to get acquainted in the backcourt, the young duo of Shai-Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddy has the chance to become special with how they compliment one another.


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