Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was taken with the 11th overall pick by the Charlotte Hornets and then promptly traded to the Los Angeles Clippers. Gilgeous-Alexander is a perfect fit for Doc Rivers and the Clippers.
The Clippers’ All-Star point guard, Chris Paul, was traded last season to the Houston Rockets for a 2018 first-round pick and a bevy of NBA role players; including former Wildcats Kyle Wiltjer and DeAndre Liggins. With Paul’s departure along with the mid-season trade of Blake Griffin, the Clippers appear to be rebuilding.
The Clippers’ rebuild will now be focused around the play making abilities of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. He is clearly the best point guard on a team with Patrick Beverley, a defensive bulldog, as his only competition for starters minutes at the one-spot.
Beverley played only 11 games last season after having surgery on his right knee. He is expected to make a full recovery from the injury and be ready for the start of the 2018-19 NBA season.
Even with a healthy Beverley, Gilgeous-Alexander is an upgrade as the lead guard for the Clippers offense. His height, length and play making ability give him the advantage over the diminutive Beverley, who is only 6’1”.
However, Beverley is a savvy veteran, who’s aggressive defense is highly coveted in a division with shooters like Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and former Kentucky star Devin Booker.
Shai will likely not have the services of De’Andre Jordan, as the leading dunker from the Lob City Era of the Clippers is an unrestricted free agent. But Avery Bradley, Danillo Gallinari and Tobias Harris are solid NBA players who will thrive in an environment where Shai is able to penetrate and dish.
Doc Rivers was the head coach for former Kentucky Wildcat Rajon Rondo during his time in Boston, and Rivers as a former point guard himself will bring a lot of knowledge to the table for SGA. Gilgeous-Alexander’s tireless work ethic, for which John Calipari praised him during the season is just the type of attitude this young and talented Clippers team needs.