Northwest Notes: SGA, Wolves, Hardy, Blazers

A series of reports in recent months have suggested that Toronto and other teams around the NBA are monitoring Shai Gilgeous-Alexander‘s situation in Oklahoma City in case he becomes disgruntled and wants out. But after leading the Thunder to a blowout win over the Raptors on Friday night, the star point guard reaffirmed his commitment to the franchise, as Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca writes.

“It’s exciting,” Gilgeous-Alexander said of the future in OKC. “And knowing the guys in the locker room personally, makes it more exciting: Guys’ mentalities, guys’ work ethic, it just makes it fun to be around and I’m very excited for the future.”

While the Thunder are still very much in the midst of their rebuilding process, they’ve been relatively competitive so far this season, with a 5-7 record and a -0.8 net rating. That respectable start is due in large part to Gilgeous-Alexander’s All-NBA caliber play — he’s averaging an eye-popping 30.5 points per game to go along with 5.5 APG, 4.4 RPG, and 2.0 SPG.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • The Timberwolves lack leadership and maturity, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon said on The Hoop Collective this week (YouTube link). According to MacMahon, while Minnesota is still trying to figure out “spacing and X’s and O’s,” one coach whose team recently played the Wolves said their biggest issues are “interpersonal.”
  • Rookie head coach Will Hardy is happy to give his players and assistants credit for the Jazz‘s strong start to the season, but Hardy has earned his share of the credit for the impressive job he has done in Utah so far, writes Sarah Todd of The Deseret News. “I think he’s done a great job,” Jazz center Kelly Olynyk said. “He’s been really personable and good with the guys. He’s really kind of put us in situations to help us be successful. He’s given us structure and organization, but not to a point where you feel robotic or you feel like you’re constricted. He’s still letting everybody play free, be themselves and play to their strengths.”
  • In a mailbag for The Athletic, Jason Quick discusses Josh Hart‘s future with the Trail Blazers, how Chauncey Billups‘ coaching style differs from Terry Stotts‘, and the positive impact Jerami Grant has had in the team’s locker room.