The Thunder entered the season seemingly ready to tank.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander made that difficult.
The guard has continued his development, reaching near-stardom and keeping Oklahoma City (19-24, 2.5 games from play-in position) competitive.
But he’ll be sidelined for an extended period with a foot injury.
Bryan Keating of KOCO-TV:
Mark Daigneault: “It sounds like it was a little bit more cumulative, I don’t think it’s something that happened on a particular play” (2) pic.twitter.com/JwfzvLgzZd
— Bryan Keating (@KOCOKeating) March 25, 2021
The silver lining for the Thunder: This will make it easier to tank ahead of a draft that looks top-heavy. For that reason, expect Oklahoma City to be especially cautious with Gilgeous-Alexander.
But this is obviously tough for the competitive player.
It also significantly dents the Thunder’s postseason chances. Gilgeous-Alexander fills such a big role. Just seven other players match his combination of usage percentage (28.5) and assist percentage (31.0): Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, Warriors guard Stephen Curry, Rockets guard John Wall, Lakers forward LeBron James, Kings guard De’Aaron Fox, Nuggets center Nikola Jokic and Grizzlies guard Ja Morant.
George Hill could return soon from a thumb injury, though he’ll probably get traded by tomorrow’s deadline. That’d leave Theo Maledon and Ty Jerome as Oklahoma City’s top lead guards.
At least there’s that silver lining.