Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: I ‘deserve the opportunity’ to be top option

Moke Hamilton
·2 min read

Heavy is the head that wears the crown, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is prepared to assume all of the burden that will come from what likely awaits him in the 2020-21 NBA season.

On Friday, the Thunder announced the first half of its schedule, which will tip-off on Dec. 23 against the Houston Rockets.

All eyes will be on Gilgeous-Alexander, who has emerged as the early cornerstone for the rebuilding club.

“Obviously, it’s something that I’m excited about and I think I’ve worked hard enough to deserve that responsibility and trust from Sam and the rest of the front office,” Gilgeous-Alexander told reporters on Friday.

“Really, I’m just ready to take advantage of the opportunity I’ve been given. There’s so many opportunities in this game that I’ve been blessed to have in my first two-and-a-little-bit years in the NBA and I’m just thankful.”

It seems like overnight, so much has been thrust on the shoulders of the youngster. Steven Adams, Chris Paul, Danilo Gallinari and Dennis Schroder are among those who found new homes last offseason.

The result? The expectations that the young Canadian will continue to develop and prove himself capable of being the top dog on a young team.

He knows it, though, and he’s done his best to prepare himself for that opportunity.

“My biggest thing was getting my body ready for the bigger task at hand in terms of load and things like that,” Gilgeous-Alexander said when asked about how he spent his offseason.

“I put on a little bit of weight, I got in better shape, I played a little bit more, just being ready for the opportunity. I think, obviously, I have certain skills and just fine-tuning those and sharpening those up and being ready to do it for a full 48 minutes.”

Although nobody is expecting the Thunder to be a playoff contender this season, it wouldn’t be consistent with the culture Sam Presti has built for his team to not come out and compete.

Expect no different from the young Thunder, especially as Gilgeous-Alexander attempts to prove himself a worthy heir to the franchise.

OddsMoney LinePoint SpreadTotal Points
Oklahoma City
+180+5.5O 224.5
Portland
-223-5.5U 224.5