Ranking each Western Conference playoff team based on their best player

Denver Nuggets v Dallas Mavericks
Denver Nuggets v Dallas Mavericks / Ron Jenkins/GettyImages
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4. Oklahoma City Thunder

Best player: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has had an amazing season. He is a top MVP candidate, led the youngest team in the NBA to the number one seed in the Western Conference, and averaged over 30 points per game for the second year in a row. He also led the league in steals, and in the top-5 in deflections per game. He will likely be on the All-NBA first team again and may get MVP. 

So why is he “low” on this list? Well, Shai has not proven himself as the number one option on a playoff team and a bonafide contender. I could not penalize him too much, given the tremendous season he has had and the great basketball he has played for the last two seasons. Nonetheless, his playoff resume is light. 

Shai has played in 13 playoff games in his career. The first six came in his rookie season, where he was surrounded by veterans on a very good Clippers team. He averaged about 14 points on 47/50/87 shooting splits.

The next seven games came with the Thunder in the bubble, but again, Shai was not the primary ball handler, with Chris Paul and Dennis Schroder next to him. He averaged 16 points on 43/40/96 splits. 

One could argue Shai has been a top-five player in the NBA the past two seasons and rightfully so. His stats back it up, but this will be the first postseason where we see him as the number one option and defenses are scheming up everything in order to stop him. I believe he will be up to the task, but for the sake of this list, this is the spot I will put him in.