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Kentucky Basketball: 3 reasons to be excited for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander with the LA Clippers

Jerry West traded up for Shai Gilgeous Alexander in last week’s NBA Draft. Here’s three reasons why Clipper fans should be excited for the former Wildcat.

NBA: NBA Draft Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander heard his name called in last week’s NBA draft when the Charlotte Hornets took him 11th overall.

He found in a few minutes later, however, that he’d been traded to the Los Angeles Clippers.

With rumors that Kemba Walker could be on the trade block, Charlotte was an optimistic landing spot.

LA, however, is even better. In fact, here are three reasons why.

Basketball IQ

Gilgeous-Alexander is long, lanky and locked-in when the ball is bouncing on the hardwood.

Combine his this with his high basketball IQ and you get an exceptional floor general.

His one-year stint at Kentucky certainly proved that, especially down the stretch of the regular season and their post-season success.

Gilgeous-Alexander was the MVP of the SEC Tournament and undoubtedly the leading force that took his Wildcats to the Sweet Sixteen.

Teammates such as Wenyen Gabriel and PJ Washington instantly became better when Gilgeous-Alexander was handed the rock.

With an intriguing roster in LA, don’t be surprised if he brings the same magic with him out West.

Work Ethic

There were multiple five-star freshman last year at Kentucky. Gilgeous-Alexander wasn’t one of them.

He was a player most considered to be a 2-3 year player under head coach John Calipari.

However, when Quade Green went down with an injury, Gilgeous-Alexander took advantage of his time with the ball in his hands and arguably saved the season for Kentucky.

Work ethic is certainly something that translates well to the NBA, giving another point to the Clippers for acquiring Gilgeous-Alexander.

Lack of Future Depth at Point Guard

Not long after the NBA Draft ended, the Clippers made a surprising decision to send Austin Rivers to the Wizards for center Marcin Gortat. Rivers, the son of head coach Doc Rivers, started 26 games last season, so that’s one less obstacle in the way of SGA into a starting spot.

Milos Teodosic also exercised his player option and will enter the final year of his contract. If he finds a new home next summer, SGA should then be propelled in to the starting role (if not sooner).

With frontcourt depth as LA’s next project, the point guard position should be SGA’s for years to come.

The Clippers have been the “other team in LA” for years. Even their short stint of playoff berths while the Lakers were rebuilding went relatively unnoticed.

With Gilgeous-Alexander, NBA champion head coach Doc Rivers and Jerry West as the lead decision maker, their future could be as bright as any other team.