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Shai Gilgeous-Alexander NBA Draft Breakdown

Garrett Furubayashi

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Age: 19

Position: Guard

College: Kentucky

 

Measurables

Height w/o Shoes: 6’4.5”

Height w/ Shoes: 6’6”

Weight: 180

Wingspan: 6’11.5”

Standing Reach: 8’8”

Max Vertical: 39.5”

 

College Statistics (2017/2018)

MPG: 33.7

PPG: 14.4

RPG: 4.1

ASTPG: 5.1

STLPG: 1.6

FT%: 81.7%

2-PT FG%: 50%

3-PT FG%: 40.4%

 

Comparisons: Patrick McCaw, Michael Carter-Williams

 

3 Things to Know

  1. Lateral quickness and long arms have made him a great defender on and off the ball.
  2. Most of his offense comes from drives. Will need a more consistent jumper.
  3. Only weighs 180 lbs and will need to bulk up in order to keep up with bigger NBA guards.

 

Strengths

  • Uses 6’11.5” wingspan to create deflections and disrupt passing lanes making his presence felt off the ball on defense.
  • Moves his feet really well and displays good lateral quickness when defending on the ball.
  • Excellent facilitator out of the pick and roll, 0.95 PPP and a 52.4%, who’s shown off a nice floater when attacking the paint.
  • Likes to use a lot of change of pace to create space for himself through his tight handles or hesitations
  • Hard worker who went from coming off the bench to starting and leading Kentucky to an SEC Tournament Championship while winning tournament MVP for himself

 

Weaknesses

  • Needs to increase his physicality to help with finishing through contact.
  • At 19 he’s still learning and tends to make some careless decisions while playing the point.
  • Shoots flat footed and has some minor mechanical flaws in his jumper.
  • At 180, he’ll need to add more weight to keep up with bigger wings and guards.

 

Summary

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was somewhat of a surprise player this past season in the college basketball world. Coming from Canada and choosing to play for Coach John Calipari at the University of Kentucky, Gilgeous-Alexander had more tempered and, maybe even, lower expectations than other players in his recruiting class like 5-star prizes Kevin Knox, Hamidou Diallo, and PJ Washington. He was still ranked 35th on ESPN’s top 100 list and a 4-star recruit, yet he started the year out on the bench. Then when the youngest team in the country needed some guidance, Gilgeous-Alexander stepped up and offered some balance leading the Wildcats to an SEC Tournament Championship and a Sweet Sixteen finish. Now Shai is on the verge of becoming a potential lottery pick in next week’s NBA draft and has a number of reasons why scouts are excited. First, he possesses a ton of defensive potential thanks to his good footwork and lateral quickness when defending on the ball. When he’s playing off the ball and in help situations, his long wingspan of 6’11.5” allows him to reach his arms out and create deflections, disrupt passing lanes, and generate steals (1.6 STLPG last season). At the next level, he’ll need to bulk up his frame, as he currently only weighs 180 lbs, in order to have more versatility at guarding bigger 2s and 3s. On the offensive side of the ball, Gilgeous-Alexander is a great facilitator out of the pick and roll who distributes the ball well and can create for himself thanks to his good change of pace. His biggest weapon is a hesitation, which allows him to create space for his jumper or drive to the rim and use a floater that has developed nicely. Mechanically, he stands too flat-footed with his jumper and could benefit from becoming more consistent shooting the ball. He also needs to improve finishing and taking contact at the rim, which will come with time and adding on more muscle. Overall, Gilgeous-Alexander’s play this season forced his way onto NBA scout’s radars, and a potential selection in the first round thanks to his hard work all season. Look for Shai to be selected in the anywhere from the late lottery to the middle of the 1st round in Thursday night’s draft.

Locke’s take
It is not clear what position Gilgeous-Alexander is going to play and I am not sure it matters.  He ran 218 pick and rolls last year at Kentucky.  Only Trae Young (335) ran more in this draft.  He was very effective on those pick and roll shooting an EFG% of 53.4 compared to Young at 50.4%.  He was by far the best shooting off the pick and roll.  He was not a great shooter off the bounce and he took very few catch and shoots, but he seems to understand the pick and roll.  I don’t like the comps of Patrick McCaw and Michael Carter-Williams because of his ability to run a pick and roll.   Overall, on the pick and roll he was .95 pts per pick and roll that was close to best in the draft of point guards.
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