Shai Gilgeous-Alexander claps back at the ‘too young’ story ahead of Game 1

The OKC Thunder are gearing up for their first playoff excursion in four years, with the festivities kicking off this Sunday night in a home game against the New Orleans Pelicans.

Not only did Oklahoma City manage to break their long-standing playoff-less streak in 2023-2024, but they did so while claiming the number one seed West, making them the youngest club. in the history of the competition to take first place in the conference standings.

While achieving such a feat and amassing a total of 57 wins (the franchise’s third-highest mark) may have fans excited to see what could happen in the bright lights of the postseason, some analysts have and spectators expressed doubt that the Thunder should be considered a legitimate title threat, with media personality Shannon Sharpe even goes so far as to say that they are the “weakest number one seed” the NBA has seen in a while.

The main reason for such slander and doubt in their potential after the season: Inexperience.

Of those in OKC’s primary 11-man rotation, only four players are 25 or older, while only three have any semblance of playoff experience.

It is for this reason that many consider the Thunder serious contenders despite coming in at the top of the Western Conference standings. During a recent media availability session, superstar Shai Gilgeous-Alexander expressed his disdain for such a talking point.

“I’ve been hearing that all year. It’s not going to change. We’re still young (and) will probably stay young for another four or five years. We’re not worried about it. We’re focusing on (our preparation).”

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Gilgeous-Alexander has been a vocal opponent of this sentiment that their inexperience should be seen as a mistake heading into the play-offs, noting that it could actually ‘help’ us, as not knowing what it’s like will put them in could enable ‘free play’.

Despite their youth, the Thunder have proven to be one of the league’s elite groups during the 2023-2024 season. first team of their age Record 55 or more wins in a season and advance to the playoffs with Mark Daigneault, the most recent Coach of the Year winner and, possibly, the league’s MVP in Gilgeous-Alexander

Additionally, they rank first in the association in three-point percentage, second in plus-minus, and second in overall net rating, showing that their greatness is far greater than just the record division and generic counting stats.

Now it’s time to see if this high-end productivity can flow straight into uncharted territory: the NBA Postseason

SGA believes this is certainly possible, and Sunday’s Game 1 against the Pelicans could give fans a better insight into whether the Star Guard is up to something.