The OKC Thunder are one game away from their four-game preseason list, the offseason is officially over! With the end of the offseason comes the annual NBA GM survey. One of my favorite league traditions, NBA.com reaches out to front office leaders and gives them their take on what’s going on around the association.
This article by John Schuhmann has everything from GM’s picks to win the league, conference standings, MVP, who they would start a franchise with, which player puts the most stress on an opposing coaching staff, who will have a breakout season, top player in every position, best offseason moves, award picks, top non-NBA international players, top defensive players, top coaches, fun-to-watch teams, top young cores, and more!
NBA GM poll praises OKC Thunder playmaker Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
The Oklahoma City Thunder signed Shai Gilgeous-Alexander for maximum contract extension this offseason, after a phenomenal third year in the league that saw him score 23 points per game, six assists, nearly five rebounds, with almost a steal and a block per game. SGA shot 50% from the ground, 41% from deep, and 80% from the charity strip.
SGA only played 35 of 72 games a year ago due to a foot injury that ended his season and kept him out of the Summer Olympics with Team Canada. Many would consider this season, albeit short, to be his breakup year.
However, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander still got votes in the NBA GM poll for the player most likely to have a breakout season. Jaren Jackson Jr won first place with 17% of the vote. Anthony Edwards (13%), Michael Porter Jr (10%), Darius Garland, Ja Morant, Kevin Porter Jr and Keldon Johnson are all tied for fourth place (7%).
OKC Thunder garnered votes for the “best overall moves of this offseason” by opposing GMs, which is tied to Kemba Walker’s buyout, earning it votes for the most surprising move in this offseason.
When asked who was the best international player outside the NBA, the general managers ranked Vasilije Micic second in that category. The OKC Thunder owns his NBA rights, so if Micic decides to join the association, he would be a member of the Thunder unless he is traded by Sam Presti.
When discussing the trades for Vasilije Micic, an already 27-year-old Euroleague MVP who probably doesn’t match what the Thunder are trying to build in terms of age, it’s good to confirm that others CEOs believe in their skills. If Oklahoma City chooses to trade him the return won’t be crazy, we don’t know how much Micic even wants to play in the league, but it would at least be something of value.
Lu Dort did not receive a vote for best defensive player, or best perimeter defender, or most versatile defender. The OKC Thunder do not get a vote for promising young cores.
Alprene Sengun, whom the Thunder traded, received the rookie of the year vote and was called the second biggest steal in the draft. None of the four Oklahoma City Thunder rookies were ranked with honors in the survey.