When looking at the NBA’s top-level talent, no one has made a bigger leap year-over-year than Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Coming into his 2022-23 season, he was an up-and-coming young star, but by this point he’s emerged as an NBA-level player.

The attacking side of the floor has clearly improved this season as the 24-year-old has developed into one of the top scorers in the entire league.

He is currently averaging 31.5 points per game and shooting over 50%. Additionally, he figured out how to get to the free-throw line and he knocked down his 92.5% of his 10.3 attempts per contest. Gilgeous-Alexander is also averaging 5.8 assists and 4.9 rebounds.

It’s easy to see that with the Thunder’s stars this season, but where he doesn’t get enough credit is defensively. This is something that should be considered when evaluating his All-NBA case.

Gilgeous-Alexander tallied a total of 53 steals during the season. This is his seventh-most player in the entire NBA. Even more impressive is his 34 blocked shots this season, which ranks among the top 25 in the league and the most of any guard. He is also sixth in the NBA in deviations this season.

Most point guards aren’t known for being quality shot blockers, but Gilgeous-Alexander breaks that mold. It’s pretty amazing to see other players who have generated the same number of blocks as him across the league.

Players like Steven Adams, Jalen Smith, Jarrett Allen, Isaiah Jackson, Michal Bridges, Onyeka Okongwu and Mo Bamba are within one block of Gilgeous-Alexander’s 34 all season.

During the 2022-23 season, he recorded at least 3 steals in 8 games and at least 3 blocks in 3 games.

Blocks and steals can’t tell the whole story, though, as they relate to defense.

For context, Gilgeous-Alexander tasked himself with shutting down the opposing team’s best player in the late game. It’s hard to move a team offensively, but he was able to make an impact defensively even in this situation.

Gilgeous-Alexander has been a big part of Oklahoma City as one of the top 10 defensemen in the NBA, with a defensive rating of 112 this season. No matter how good the Thunder have been in that regard as a team, he’s still the leader with his 1.3 in defensive win shares.

As Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continues to prove himself to be a highly influential player on both ends, his claim to the All-NBA nod is going from strength to strength. To this point in the season, his game has had few weaknesses, and that’s how he led the Oklahoma City Thunder to his 15-19 record.

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