Shai Gilgeous-Alexander opens up about relationship with Mark Daigneault

The Oklahoma City Thunder had an eventful couple of days.

Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault was named the 2023-24 Coach of the Year on Sunday. The next day, the Thunder swept the New Orleans Pelicans in their first-round matchup with a Game 4 win.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander closed out the series with a 24-point performance. After the win, the MVP candidate discussed Daigneault’s award and went into detail about his affinity for the 39-year-old coach.

“He started coaching the year my role changed as a player. To see his growth from that beginning to where it is now is amazing,” Gilgeous-Alexander said. “I’ve never really had a relationship with a coach on this professional level like I have with him.

“It just makes it easy to play. I think I can say that for the guys across the whole team. He’s so easy to play for because he’s humble, he doesn’t love taking credit, he doesn’t take care about himself, he’s selfless. When he messes up he owns it.

“Because he’s that way, he can get on us. He can hold us accountable because he holds himself accountable. It’s just rare to see at this level. We don’t take him for granted, I don’t take him for granted. Deserved Coach of the Year for sure.”

This was a very well-said response by Gilgeous-Alexander. The duo have been tied to the hip through this rebuild as the coach-star relationship. The 25-year-old has blossomed into one of the best players in the league under his tenure.

Gilgeous-Alexander singling out his relationship with Daigneault is a high compliment in itself. He’s had his fair share of surefire future Hall of Famers who’ve coached him in notable names like John Calipari, Doc Rivers and Billy Donovan.

For a title contender like the Thunder, arguably the most important relationship that needs constant nurturement is the head coach and franchise star.

If they’re on the same page, that creates a positive synergy that trickles down throughout the roster and translates to on-court success. It looks like Gilgeous-Alexander’s and Daigneault’s relationship has only strengthened as OKC has graduated to contender status this season.

Story originally appeared on Thunder Wire