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2017-18 NBA Draft Player Profile: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

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Shai Gilgeous-Alexander brings a lot to the table for whoever decides to select him on draft night. His length, versatility, and raw ability makes him a very intriguing option for the Charlotte Hornets.

NCAA Basketball: SEC Conference Tournament Championship-Tennessee vs Kentucky Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is one of the most intriguing prospects in the NBA Draft this summer. His length, defense, and fluidity make his skillset immensely rare to come across, especially with a pick as low as 11th.

Gilgeous-Alexander is not an explosive athlete by any means, however, he does check many boxes and does not have many weaknesses. SGA is a very cerebral player, and has the ability to set many of his opponents up for a drive. His footwork is great, and his off-ball movements are decent.

However, Gilgeous-Alexander’s physical tools are completely off the charts. Like stated earlier, he is very tall for a two-guard and has the wingspan of a power-forward. This, in essence, gives him the ability to make plays like the one above. He can use his long arms to clog passing lanes, and the majority of his steals come on on-ball defense, which is impressive considering he averaged nearly two per game. This part of his game still has room to grow, as well. SGA hasn’t filled out his frame yet, and once he does, he could be one of the best defensive players on the Charlotte Hornets, and possibly even the NBA.

He can get to the rim when he wants to. This was one of the things he wasn’t necessarily good at in high school that he improved on in college. SGA wasn’t necessarily expected to be as good, as fluid as he was this past season when attempting to get to the rim. However, this ability can cause him to obtain a sort of selfishness, at times. However, for the most part, he was a creator just as much as a driver for the Wildcats.

Speaking of creating, Gilgeous-Alexander led the Kentucky Wildcats in assists this past season with just over five per game. For reference, he averaged more assists per game than De’Aaron Fox with an arguably worse team. Fox had current Hornets guard Malik Monk and Miami Heat big Bam Adebayo. This makes Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s passing even more impressive, considering those two were lottery picks.

As a matter of fact, let’s put Fox’s stats next to Gilgeous-Alexander’s:

  • Fox: 16.7 points, 4.6 assists, four rebounds, 2.4 turnovers, 1.5 steals
  • SGA: 14.4 points, 5.1 assists, 4.1 rebounds, 2.7 turnovers, 1.6 steals

As you can see, there are not many discrepancies between the two players.

Going back to the defensive side of the ball, Gilgeous-Alexander has shown the ability to be an elite help-defender, as demonstrated on this play. His wingspan once again helps him in this case, as he blocks the lay-up after Knox is blown by on defense.

As you can see, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has some elite-level characteristics along with a promising offensive game. If and when drafted, he likely won’t make much of an instant impact for whichever team he is picked by because of his slim frame. Once he adds weight and strength, he’ll be able to utlilize his length and other physical tools

It is very likely that Shai Gilgeous-Alexander does not last to the 11th overall pick. With his rare skill-set, teams tend to fall in love with lengthy, creative players after guys like Giannis Antetokounmpo and Ben Simmons have been successful in the NBA. Granted, both of those players did play forward in college/overseas, but you get the point.

However, if Gilgeous-Alexander is available at 11, the Charlotte Hornets should definitely consider him. SGA has a high ceiling, and at the very least will be a rotational guard in the NBA with his defense already making an impact. He reminds me of a rich man’s Patrick Beverley with the potential to become an All-Star guard at his absolute peak.

One thing that has not been mentioned yet is SGA’s incredible work ethic. John Calipari, the head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats, has said time and time again that Gilgeous-Alexander is the hardest worker on the Kentucky Men’s basketball team.

Poll

Would you select Shai Gilgeous-Alexander if available?

This poll is closed

  • 51%
    Absolutely
    (127 votes)
  • 41%
    Probably, it depends on who else is available
    (102 votes)
  • 5%
    Probably not, unless everybody else is gone
    (13 votes)
  • 1%
    Definitely not
    (4 votes)
246 votes total Vote Now