NBA Player Profile: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander


Kentucky freshman guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander talks to media in the locker room after the win against Tennessee in the SEC tournament championship on Sunday, March 11, 2018, in St. Louis, Missouri. Kentucky defeated Tennessee 77-72. Photo by Arden Barnes | Staff

NBA Player Profile: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, the near-consensus top NBA prospect out of UK this year, was a breakout star for the Cats his only year in Lexington.

He was the least heralded of the seven recruits that the Cats picked up for the 2017-18 season, but quickly became one of the team’s primary leaders. The 6-4 guard averaged 14.4 points, 4.1 rebounds and 5.1 assists for the Cats, breaking the 20-point scoring mark six times over the season.

He took over Quade Green’s starting point guard job after Green suffered an injury against Monmouth, and Gilgeous-Alexander never gave back the reins after that.

NBA Comparison

Gilgeous-Alexander, in skill set and size, best compares to rookie Michael Carter-Williams in today’s NBA. Carter-Williams is another guard with size, that can run an offense effectively but switch and guard positions 1-4 on defense. His explosiveness and three-point shooting have come into question, although Gilgeous-Alexander made over 40% of his attempts from deep during the season.

Draft Radar

Gilgeous-Alexander hasn’t been very opened about teams he’s worked out with. Every workout has been private, and he’s explicitly told reporters that he “can’t tell” them which team’s he’s worked out for.

The rumor swirling around the sports media members currently is that the Toronto Raptors are considering trading for the Charlotte Hornets’ first-round pick (No. 11) to get Gilgeous-Alexander.

NBA Combine

Gilgeous-Alexander attended the combine for measurements, but didn’t participate in drills.

Mock Draft

Most mock draft have Gilgeous-Alexander being picked up by a team in the mid- to late lottery (first 14 picks). Some mocks have him going as high as No. 6 (To the Orlando Magic) but most have him going just after or at pick No. 10.

“You’re talking a projection – which is what the NBA reads – a projection of where he was in the beginning of our year, he was our ninth rated player,” UK head coach John Calipari said.  “To where he was at the end of the year, when he played well, we won. To a guy that proved that he could shoot it better than everybody thought he could, why he was in the gym at 7 a.m. in the morning working on it. A guy that got stronger physically, why because he was the best we had in the weight room and he started to mature physically. And now, they’re all looking for big point guards.”

The draft will be on ESPN at 7 p.m. Thursday.