Former Kentucky Wildcat and Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has been among the top scorers in the NBA this season.
SGA, a first-round pick out of Kentucky in 2018, has improved every year in the league, but in his 5th season, SGA has taken a substantial leap.
SGA ranks 4th in the league in scoring, averaging 31.5 points per game to go along with 4.8 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game.
That’s an increase of 7 points per game from last season, which has led SGA to be one of the top contenders to be named the NBA’s Most Improved Player this season.
According to DraftKings Sportsbook, SGA has the 2nd-best odds to receive the award this season, only behind Utah’s Lauri Markkanen.
SGA’s odds currently sit at +220, while Markkanen is at -300.
Shai currently has the highest field-goal percentage of his career at 51.2 percent, while shooting 35 percent from three.
Where SGA has really made his living this season has been at the free-throw line. Shai has been among the best in the league at drawing contact and converting at the free throw line, shooting nearly 90.8 percent on nearly 11 attempts per game.
Shai’s free throw percentage is 5th in the league, only behind Tyler Herro (93.2%), Kevin Durant (92.4%), Stephen Curry (91.5 percent), and Damian Willard (91.4%), but Shai averages the most attempts among that group.
To go along with his offensive numbers, Shai is averaging 1 block and 1.7 steals per game on the defensive end.
Only one other former Wildcat has won the Most Improved Player award. Julius Randle took home the honor in the 2020-2021 season.
Markkanen has made a big leap this season, so he certainly has a case to make for being the NBA’s Most Improved Player but SGA certainly has a strong case to make as well. This one figures to be close.