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Thunder GM Sam Presti knows what Shai Gilgeous-Alexander should do to make the superstar leap

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

After Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s stellar campaign with the Oklahoma City Thunder last season, general manager Sam Presti has identified what exactly the guard needs to do to elevate his game into superstar status.

Last season, Gilgeous-Alexander averaged 19.0 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 3.3 assists across 34.9 minutes of play. He was one of the main offensive gunners of the Thunder, a role he’s well-capable of playing.

On the defensive end, he averaged 1.1 steals per outing. The former Kentucky standout has been putting his 6-foot-11 wingspan into good use. Presti seems to have spotted this too and knows that SGA has the potential to turn it up a notch, as he shared with Logan Newman of USA Today.

“Taking a big step defensively, I think, is going to catapult him into another level of player.”

Gilgeous-Alexander is on the same page with Presti. As a student of the game, he knows that the greats became what they are because of their prowess on both ends.

“The biggest thing is how much of a toll it takes on you to play at a high level on both ends of the floor. The greatest players in the game can do it, and ultimately that’s where I want to get to, so I know I got to do it. That’s one of the things I focused on in this short little offseason, getting my body ready to be the best that I can be on both ends of the floor.”

The Thunder definitely had a wild offseason with the departure of key players and the acquisition of a bunch of draft picks. While the upcoming season seems uncertain, one thing is certain: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander will have to play a much bigger role for their renovated squad.