By Trevor Magnotti
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is one of the most perplexing players in the 2018 NBA Draft class. He drove himself into the lottery conversation with a solid second half of the season for Kentucky, and he offers some exciting potential because he combines two profiles that draft scouts absolutely love - being incredibly long (point guards that are 6-6 with a 6-11 wingspan sell), and also being incredibly smart on both ends of the floor.
SGA has very strong playmaking tools. He has great vision, and puts it to smart use, particularly in the pick-and-roll. He might be the most experienced pick-and-roll point guard in the class outside of Luka Doncic, and his ability to make drop-offs and drive-and-kicks is very strong. That passing ability is coupled with a strong understanding of team defense, as he’s a gifted pick-and-roll defender who is comfortable switching, and has great hands for generating steals.
The weird part of Gilgeous-Alexander’s game comes with his weaknesses. His strengths would point to him being a gifted point guard, but he has definite impediments to being a starting-caliber one in the NBA. Chief among those is his shooting - while he hit over 40 percent from 3 this season, it came on just 57 attempts which was less than many of the draft’s top centers. Over 70 percent of those attempts were assisted. SGA has almost no pull-up game to speak of, which is incredibly important if the rest of your offensive game points to you being a pick-and-roll...