Is it remotely hyperbolic to say that we’ve never seen a player like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander?
Last night, after recording a stat line of 20 points, 20 rebounds, and 10 assists, SGA became the youngest player in NBA history to notch a 20-rebound triple-double, passing The Big Aristotle himself, Shaq.
The Kentucky product is a 6’5″ combo-guard, and in his sophomore season, is already showing signs of becoming one of the best guards in the league.
SGA, the son of Charmaine Gilgeous, a former track star who competed in the 1992 Olympics for Antigua and Barbuda, was born in Toronto, Ontario.
His father, Vaughn Alexander, coached him as a boy. Gilgeous-Alexander made his way through the ranks of high school ball and eventually became a highly-sought-after four-star recruit.
He declared for Kentucky, and after coming off the bench the first half of the season, SGA earned a starting spot and helped bring Kentucky to the Sweet 16, before bowing out to Kansas State.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 17, 2018
The Toronto-born guard was selected with the 11th pick in the 2018 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Hornets, and then quickly got dealt to the Los Angeles Clippers.
In his freshman season for a scrappy, underdog Clippers team, SGA played all 82 games, putting up 10.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game.
But even in his ultra-impressive first season at age 20, outside forces were out of his control. That was exactly the case when Kawhi Leonard essentially forced the Clippers’ hand to trade for Paul George of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Thunder were not going to trade their star forward without receiving promising youngster SGA in return, and so the deal went, along with a haul of draft picks and Danilo Gallinari to the Thunder.
1st career triple-double for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in the @okcthunder win last night!
⚡️ 20 PTS
⚡️ 20 REB
⚡️ 10 AST
⚡️ 60 FPTS pic.twitter.com/x5fGlrl2zz
— NBA Fantasy (@NBAFantasy) January 14, 2020
SGA has not withered under the change of scenery. Instead, he has embraced it, relished the new opportunity, and under the tutelage of one of the greatest point guards of all time in Chris Paul, shown hints that he was the prize of the deal, not Paul George.
Chris Paul and SGA together in the backcourt form a tandem that is savvy defensively, brilliant on the ball, and are leaders of a team that is outperforming expectations.
Paul is the wise leader who, in a year many thought he would show increased signs of age, is leading the league in clutch buckets.
Year-by-year leaders in clutch scoring…
2019-20: Chris Paul
2015-16: Reggie Jackson (lol!!!)
— Micah Adams (@MicahAdams13) January 8, 2020
SGA is the motor, displaying his crafty skills at getting to the basket and opening up shots and opportunities for his teammates.
The two guards complement each other perfectly, and as the Thunder stare at Chris Paul’s lofty contract and have the incentive to trade him, instead they might look to keep him on the books as he is a perfect mentor for their young superstar SGA.
A 20-rebound game is outrageous for a guard, but to put up that feat in a game where he also scores 20 points and dishes out 10 assists, at the age of 21? This man is special.
SGA lowkey also is exceptionally fly in his downtime and as he pulls up to arenas to play. In a league full of players making fashion statements nightly, SGA, much like his game, has drip that goes under the radar.
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Shai’s game is so crafty it is truly a joy to watch. He has an uncanny ability for a young player to get to his spots, delicately slinking his way through the defense to get to the rim or pull up for a jumper.
As the 11th pick, it was clear not everybody knew about Shai and his potential. They are surely rueing that decision now. Keep eating Shai, we definitely #dontmindthedrip.