When Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander looks in the mirror, a reflection of Damian Lillard appears, and that’s because the two are approaching very similar career paths.
Young guard, insane talent, small market, trade rumors galore.
Lillard isn’t all that young anymore, but his talent is still insane, and he survived the small market trade rumors that followed him for years after signing an extension with the Portland Trail Blazers over the summer.
So what advice does Lillard have for SGA?
“He’s in a situation where he’s playing free,” Lillard said. “He’s got a group of guys that understand he’s the leader, he’s the guy.
“His career is in a great position. I’d say the grass is not always greener on the other side.”
There have been rumors surfacing that Gilgeous-Alexander wants a trade to a more winnable situation than the Thunder, who are building a blueprint in how to rebuild an NBA franchise after acquiring boat loads of future draft capital.
Gilgeous-Alexander is averaging a career-high 31.3 points per game and has carried the Thunder this season, including a win Monday night with a buzzer-beater to spoil Lillard’s record-breaking evening. Ironically enough, his shot to win the game is reminiscent of the clutch moments Lillard has displayed throughout his 11-year career.
But if the reflection in the mirror that SGA has is truly like Dame’s, then sticking it out in OKC might be the move for the young superstar-to-be.