Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has undoubtedly been one of the best players in the league this season. His play has had NBA legend Charles Barkley in awe. On Tuesday's episode of "Inside the NBA," Sir Charles went as far as to say that the Oklahoma City youngster has been the best shooting guard of the 2022-23 campaign.
"Shai Gilgeous is flat-out balling," Barkley said. "I told y'all, If you don't put that boy as a starter in the All-Star Game, it's a travesty. Because he's been the best two-guard in the NBA all year, in my opinion."
Is Chuck right?
Averaging career-highs 31.3 points and 6.0 assists per game (and contributing 4.8 rebounds per contest), Gilgeous-Alexander looks on track to make his All-Star debut this season. And Tuesday wasn't the first time Barkley endorsed the 24-year-old as a starter for the midseason showcase. He also did so in late November, messing up the guard's name in the process.
Another important question arising from the Hall of Famer's statement is whether or not SGA is indeed the best in his position. There are other candidates for the title, including Devin Booker and Donovan Mitchell.
While the Canadian player's numbers are outstanding, it's worth noting that the Thunder's record is 11-13. Even though his performance has been stellar this season, it hasn't exactly translated to wins.
Looking at the other 2-guards
Contrastingly, the other aforementioned shooting guards have produced comparable stats while playing key roles in their teams' successful standings.
Booker is posting 28.4 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 5.9 assists per game while shooting better from the perimeter than Shai. More importantly, Book has led the Phoenix Suns to the top of the Western Conference despite the absence of Chris Paul.
As for Mitchell, the Cleveland Cavaliers guard is averaging 28.4 points, 3.9 boards, and 4.9 dishes per contest and has helped his squad to a 16-8 record, good for No. 3 in the East.
Given these facts, it might be difficult to agree with Barkley's assertion. On top of that, an argument can be made that Gilgeous-Alexander is more of a point guard than a two-guard. Still, what's sure is that the fifth-year pro has the tools to consistently rank among the Association's elite players in the seasons to come.