NBA play-offs: Players to watch with LeBron James, Stephen Curry & Kevin Durant out

The Oklahoma City Thunder’s front office could not have envisaged the meteoric rise of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander when they traded for him in 2019.

Joining after a season for the LA Clippers where he averaged just under 11 points, he has finished this term as a nominee for the regular season MVP award.

Gilgeous-Alexander has been the focal point of Oklahoma’s rise to the top of the Western Conference, bettering last season’s campaign where they did not make the play-offs.

The 25-year-old is right up there in terms of offensive output, hitting 30.4 points per game – the second highest in the league.

But at the other end, he is just as strong on defence with an average of two steals per match.

His skills in isolation, on transition, and in the pick and roll have stood out.

The young Thunder squad, known for not only their on-court brilliance but also their impressive post-game barking, external, have made waves in the league this year and pulled off a clean sweep of the New Orleans Pelicans in the first round.

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