Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has had an extremely quiet pre-draft process, with the former Kentucky guard not working out with many teams and keeping visits to an absolute minimum.
But his stock is spiking.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander shed zero light on what he's been up to since declaring for the NBA draft. Said he has worked out for teams, but when asked who, he said, "I can't say that." Asked how many teams he worked out for, he said he couldn't tell that either.
— Sean Deveney (@SeanDeveney) June 20, 2018
He started the process as a late-lottery/mid-first round selection. Now, however, it would be an absolute shock if he fell out of the top-11.
Charlotte has all but said they would take him at 11 if he dropped that far, but most believe he’ll go well before that.
I will label this a typical buzz before the draft – but don’t be shocked is Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Wendell Carter Jr go higher than most expect.
— Steve Kyler (@stevekylerNBA) June 20, 2018
According to NBA insider Marc Stein, the Toronto Raptors are prepared to make a move into the top-10 to select the silky-smooth point guard.
Draft scuttle: Hearing Toronto is exploring all of its trade options in hopes of assembling a deal to acquire a draft pick high enough to select Kentucky's Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 18, 2018
Gilgeous-Alexander, a Hamilton, Canada native, told reporters at NBA Draft Media Day this afternoon that he would love to play in his hometown at the next level.
“I heard it,” the former UK player said. “A couple of guys mentioned it to me. That would be cool. Playing in Toronto would be fun. It’s my hometown.”
But the Raptors may not even get the opportunity, as another team is enamored with the former Wildcat.
According to several reports, the Cleveland Cavaliers are torn between Gilgeous-Alexander and Oklahoma’s Trae Young at No. 8, but they may be leaning toward the Kentucky guard.
Source: Trae Young conducted a secret workout with the Cavs on Saturday. If Michael Porter is gone, it seems to be a toss-up at the moment between Young and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander for Cleveland at #8. We've given Shai the nod in our latest mock today: https://t.co/hpiDE2e70Y
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) June 19, 2018
He credits the hype surrounding his draft stock and his overall NBA preparedness to his time at the University of Kentucky, and more specifically, John Calipari.
“It prepared me a lot,” Gilgeous-Alexander said Wednesday of how UK impacted his NBA aspirations. “From Day One, Coach (John) Calipari has prepared us to be pros. That’s one of his main things. That’s what he does better than any coach in the country.”
As for Gilgeous-Alexander’s teammate, Kevin Knox, his stock is rising, as well. In fact, there’s a chance the Wildcats are taken back-to-back near the end of the top-10.
The New York Knicks are reportedly interested in the Kentucky forward with the ninth pick, and the Philadelphia 76ers are extremely interested with the tenth pick. He has worked out for both teams, including several others in the top-10. He has also worked out with Orlando at No. 6, Chicago at No. 7, Charlotte at No. 11, and the Clippers at No. 12. There’s a very slim chance he falls past there.
Knox said he has learned a lot through the pre-draft process, including the fact that he “can do so much more than (he) showed at Kentucky.”
“In college you kind of have a role on your team,” he said. “My role was a little bit different. It was to play off the ball but I think this summer I showed a lot of teams, a lot of coaches I can play on the ball, I really can do so much more than I showed at Kentucky. That’s kind of the mindset coming into this summer this year. I’m gonna keep proving people wrong.”
But the bright lights at Kentucky have prepared him for even the biggest of stages in the NBA. Even when it comes to New York’s Madison Square Garden.
“Kentucky is basically the New York Knicks of college basketball,” he said.
As for John Calipari’s role in tomorrow night’s NBA Draft, Knox says the Kentucky coach will be bouncing back and forth between his table and SGA’s.
Kevin Knox says John Calipari is going to bounce back and forth between his and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s green room tables, especially once Cal hears which team will select them. “He likes to be on camera. He likes media attention.”
— Jake Fischer (@JakeLFischer) June 20, 2018
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: “From Day One, Coach Calipari has prepared us to be pros. That’s one of his main things. That’s what he does better than any coach in the country.” #BBN #NBADrafthttps://t.co/bOwP1Ze4uA
— ExCats (@ExCats) June 20, 2018