Team: Oklahoma City Thunder
Weight: 181 lbs.
Shai Giligeous has great size for a point guard at 6’6 with his 6’11 wingspan. This allows him to be a steady defender and can guard 1-3. Walker is very solid finishing around the rim for a 21-year-old. He is much better finishing with his right hand but can finish in a variety of ways. He can finish through contact despite his slim frame. He also has a floater game that allows him to get his shot off before encountering the opposing team’s shot blocker. Alexander can break down his defender and can change speeds. He is very strong with the ball and doesn’t turn the ball over at a high rate. He has an average first step for a guard, but his long strides allow him to attack off the catch. Gilgeous Alexander can pass with either hand and can make a simple read. The upper body of his jump shot is fluid and has a good balance. He is also generally smart in his shot selection. Shai is capable of playing off the ball.
Even with his length, he doesn’t have great anticipation defensively. He does not harass opposing ball handlers but does contain them at a decent rate. Shai also lacks fundamentals when closing out at times. On offense, Alexander does need to improve attacking with his left as well as finishing with the left hand. His jump shot is fairly slow, which allows for his opponents to go under the screen and still contest his shot. It would also benefit him to use his legs more and not rely on his arms as much. He can improve on his court vision to make to become a better passer in pick and roll situations especially.
Shai Gilgeous has shown that he belongs in the NBA. He can score on or off the ball. He is very effective in driving to his right and can score in a variety of ways inside the arc. His role in Oklahoma City limits him right now as a playmaker with Chris Paul and Dennis Schroeder receiving significant minutes. In the sample size, he has been the pick and roll ball-handler, he is usually looking to score first, but will make the obvious pass when necessary. His size gives appeal, but you would expect him to make more of an impact defensively than he has thus far. He is not a bad defender but doesn’t show the instincts that separate the elite defenders from the average defenders in this league. Shai is only 21 and has shown a lot of promise. He is deservedly one of the future cornerstones of the Oklahoma City Thunder franchise.
Article Written by Bradley Patten
Measurements provided by NBA.com (https://stats.nba.com/player/1628983/)
Photo credit to Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports (https://okcthunderwire.usatoday.com/2019/10/23/gilgeous-alexander-scores-career-high-thunder-fall-to-jazz-100-95/)