Coming in as a four-star recruit last season, expectations were relatively low for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander at the start of his Kentucky career.
Before long, SGA was the team’s key player on both ends of the floor, working his way from multiple seasons in Lexington to NBA Draft lottery conversation. He finished the year averaging 14.4 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 5.1 assists per game, easily Kentucky’s most consistent player throughout.
Drafted by the Los Angeles Clippers at No. 11 overall, the former Wildcat is once again turning heads in the NBA, working his way up the totem pole as the team’s lead point guard.
Lou Williams, a two-time Sixth Man of the Year recipient and 13-year veteran, had extremely high praise for his newest teammate, saying SGA’s time at Kentucky expedited the maturation process. The first-year jitters just aren’t there for the 6-foot-6 guard, who is averaging 10 points, 3.4 rebounds, and three assists per game.
“A lot of times in big moments, younger guys might have some anxiety, might start rushing things,” Williams said. “But at the same time, Shai went to Kentucky. He’s a very mature kid. It shows on the basketball floor.”
Take a look at the interview below:
#Clippers Lou Williams (@TeamLou23) on Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (@shaiglalex) – “A lot of times in big moments, younger guys might have some anxiety, might start rushing things, but at the same time, Shai went to Kentucky. He’s a very mature kid. It shows on the basketball floor.” pic.twitter.com/iuQAzl4gG5
— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) November 16, 2018
According to Robert Flom of SB Nation, 93.9 percent of Gilgeous-Alexander’s two-point field goals have been unassisted and 47 percent of his points come in the paint.
And he’s dominating on defense, as well. When he’s on the floor, the Clippers have a 102 Defensive Rating, good for best in the NBA. He’s also averaging 1.5 steals and 1.3 blocks per 100 possessions.
Since becoming a starter, Gilgeous-Alexander is averaging 14.8 points (52.4 percent shooting), 4.3 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game. He’s also adding 1.5 blocks and one steal to go with just 2.3 turnovers per contest. In those four games, the Clippers are 3-1 with wins over Milwaukee and Golden State.
SGA’s Rookie of the Year campaign is officially underway.