In a recent Tuesday night doubleheader on TNT, Shaquille O’Neal voiced his admiration for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, asserting a surprising preference for the Thunder star over Mavericks sensation Luka Doncic. O’Neal, familiar with Gilgeous-Alexander’s game, commended the rising star’s style of play and team-oriented approach.
“I’m gonna have to take [Gilgeous-Alexander],” O’Neal declared when posed with the choice between Gilgeous-Alexander and the highly-acclaimed Luka Doncic. He continued, emphasizing Gilgeous-Alexander’s ability to play the game the right way, involve teammates, and labeled him as one of his favorite players to watch.
O’Neal’s endorsement sheds light on Gilgeous-Alexander’s unexpected journey to superstardom. Drafted eight picks after Doncic, he traversed from the LA Clippers to the Oklahoma City Thunder in a draft-day deal. Progressing from a role-playing starter in his rookie season, Gilgeous-Alexander has steadily increased his scoring output, surpassing 30 points per game for two consecutive seasons.
While acknowledging the subjective nature of player preference, O’Neal’s statement raises interesting points about the competition between Doncic and Gilgeous-Alexander. Both guards have established themselves as Western Conference standouts, sharing All-Star and All-NBA First Team honors in the previous season.
The ongoing season sees the two players vying for individual and team success. Gilgeous-Alexander’s Thunder are in contention for the West’s top seed, contrasting with the Mavericks, who currently reside in the middle of the playoff picture. Doncic holds an edge in individual statistics, setting the stage for a compelling debate.
As Gilgeous-Alexander and Doncic remain key contenders in the MVP race, their performances paint a vivid picture of their impact on the court. The statistical breakdown for the 2023-24 season reveals a close competition between the two:
Ultimately, the Gilgeous-Alexander vs. Doncic debate adds intrigue to the ongoing NBA season, showcasing the emergence of two of the league’s top-tier players.