Shai Gilgeous-Alexander will make the NBA All-Rookie team

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 22: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 22: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander /

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander put his name into the 2018 NBA Draft. He has been talked about as a likely lottery pick, and I believe he’ll make a big enough impact in his first season to make the All-Rookie First Team.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, as many predicted, put his name into the 2018 NBA Draft. Shai will sign with an agent, effectively ending his UK career after just one season in Lexington. Gilgeous-Alexander will not receive the publicity that will be thrown towards DeAndre Ayton or Marvin Bagley. But, he will make a big enough impact to make the All-Rookie First Team.

Most mock drafts have Shai going in the middle-part of the first round. Among the teams drafting in that neck of the woods are the Philadelphia 76ers, Charlotte Hornets, Los Angeles Clippers, Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns.

The Hornets have been rumored to be shopping point guard Kemba Walker. If that happens, of the teams previously mentioned, Charlotte, Los Angeles and Phoenix are all in need of help in the backcourt. One could make the case for Denver as well, however, Jamal Murray seems to have fit in well as a hybrid point-guard for the Nuggets.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was a pleasant surprise this season for Coach Cal and Big Blue Nation. I believe he’ll be a pleasant surprise to the NBA team that drafts him as well.

Shai has great size for a point guard at 6’6″. Though he won’t be able to get to the basket as easily in the NBA as he did in college, his ability to create his own shot off the dribble will translate very well to the pro game. Gilgeous-Alexander is not a knockdown three-point shooter, but he was effective last season when shot from downtown. Shai hit 40.4% of his three-point shots.

Trae Young and Collin Sexton will be Gilgeous-Alexander’s direct competition for a spot on the All-Rookie First Team. Shai is not the shooter that Young is, and he doesn’t possess the flash of Sexton. But, he just gets the job done.

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No one expected Donovan Mitchell or Kyle Kuzma to explode onto the scene the way they did this season. Furthermore, Lonzo Ball was thought to be the second-coming of Magic Johnson. How’s that working out so far?

The point being, it’s not always the highly-touted rookies that make the biggest impact on their respective teams. Case and point is the way Shai Gilgeous-Alexander handled his business this season. Quade Green was expected to be the starter for UK. But after missing three games with injury, Green was never able to reclaim his starting spot on the team.

Like any rookie, I expect to see Shai struggle from time to time. But, he works hard and is very dedicated to his craft. I for one, am excited to see who drafts him in June and I’m looking forward to his NBA career.