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#pounditMonday, May 16, 2022

Articles tagged: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander shouts out Russell Westbrook after first career triple-double

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is definitely carrying the torch from his predecessor in Oklahoma City.

The Thunder guard recorded the first triple-double of his NBA career in a win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday, putting up a massive 20 points, 20 rebounds, and 10 assists. After the game, Gilgeous-Alexander gave a shout-out to Thunder great Russell Westbrook a.k.a Mr. Triple Double.

“Tryna catch Russ to be honest,” said the 21-year-old. “20-20-20 next, you know what I’m saying?”

Indeed, Westbrook recorded a 20-20-20 game just last April for the Thunder in a game against the Los Angeles Lakers. While Gilgeous-Alexander has said that he is not trying to fill Westbrook’s shoes, he will have a hard time avoiding the comparisons if he keeps putting up stat lines like this.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander says he is not trying to fill Russell Westbrook’s shoes

Shai Gilgeous Alexander

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s predecessor in Oklahoma City was kind of a big deal, and he knows his place as he enters his first season with the Thunder.

In an interview this week, the second-year point guard said that he was not trying to fill the shoes of Russell Westbrook.

“I am not Russell Westbrook,” said Gilgeous-Alexander, per the Associated Press. “We don’t have the same name, the same body type, nothing like that. So I’m going to try to be myself and be the best me, and everything else will take care of itself.

“Regardless of the situation, I’m going to continue to work hard and play my game,” he added. “I know that eventually it will come out and things like that. I don’t worry about starting. I don’t worry about accolades or anything like that. I just work hard, keep my head down and be true to who I am.”

The 21-year-old Gilgeous-Alexander, who was averaged 10.8 points and 3.3 assists per game as a rookie for the LA Clippers last season, was acquired by the Thunder this offseason as part of the Paul George blockbuster trade.

As for Westbrook, who was the face of the Thunder for much of his 11 years in OKC before this summer’s move to Houston, who knows if he will develop a rivalry with his successor like he did with another opposing point guard.

Report: Clippers unwilling to include Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in Anthony Davis talks

Shai Gilgeous Alexander

The LA Clippers are not prepared to part with one former Kentucky star in order to acquire another.

In an appearance Thursday on ESPN’s “The Sedano Show,” NBA insider Bobby Marks reported that guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is “off the board” in any potential Clippers’ trade for Anthony Davis.

Gilgeous-Alexander, who has yet to turn 21, started 73 games for the 48-win Clippers last season, averaging 10.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game. He often flashed maturity beyond his years as a playmaker and as a rangy, versatile defender at 6-foot-6.

Other than Gilgeous-Alexander, the Clippers still boast plenty of talented and/or inexpensive assets to offer in a possible package for the New Orleans Pelicans big man. That includes Montrezl Harrell, Danilo Gallinari, Landry Shamet, Lou Williams, and the multiple picks that they got from the Philadelphia 76ers in last February’s Tobias Harris trade.

Also working in the Clippers’ favor is that Davis sounds very willing to sign a long-term extension with them if he indeed ends up there.

10 early NBA Rookie of the Year candidates

Luka Doncic

We’re a third of the way through the NBA season, and a number of players have staked an early claim for postseason hardware. Recently, we reviewed 10 early candidates for MVP.

Though no rookie will enter that conversation this season (the last rookie to win the award was Wes Unseld in 1968-69), a few first-year players look like future MVP candidates. Here are 10 rookies who have gotten off to a hot start – the leading candidates, at this point, to win Rookie of the Year.

10. Miles Bridges, Charlotte Hornets

Bridges made an interesting decision choosing to return to Michigan State for his sophomore year. Though he had a solid season, he didn’t help his draft stock, and he may have hurt it slightly. A top prospect out of high school, he fell to No. 12 in the draft. In his rookie campaign, Bridges isn’t putting up jaw-dropping numbers — 7.5 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. But he’s playing 20 minutes a night for a surprisingly good Charlotte team (currently No. 6 in the East), and he’s shooting 48.4 percent from the field. Last week, he dropped a career-high 16 points and connected on three of his six three-point attempts. Look for his role in James Borrego’s offense to continue to increase.


Top 10 NBA Rookie of the Year candidates

Luka Doncic

Ben Simmons entered the 2017-18 season as Vegas’ favorite to win that year’s Rookie of the Year award – and he made the sportsbooks look wise. Simmons looked ready to dominate at the ripe age of 21, averaging 15.8 points, 8.2 assists, and 8.1 rebounds per game and helping the Sixers mount a late charge for East supremacy.

Many predicted the Aussie would claim that award, but few expected he’d be jockeying for the honor with Donovan Mitchell, who inexplicably fell to No. 13 in the 2017 draft. Jayson Tatum (the No. 3 pick) came in third, and though a fourth finalist wasn’t announced, we imagine Kyle Kuzma (No. 27) would’ve checked in next on the list.

So, which young star will shine the brightest this year? Here are 10 incoming rookies we think have the best shot of taking home the hardware in June 2019.

10. Harry Giles, Sacramento Kings

It seems everyone has forgotten about Giles, a top-three recruit in the Class of 2016 (the others at the top: Lonzo Ball and Josh Jackson). Everyone, that is, except for the Kings, who have sung his praises this offseason. After sitting out his rookie season, Giles made his debut at Summer League and performed well, consistently posting double-doubles and showing impressive ability to protect the rim. Vince Carter, who spent last season with Giles, recently told me he was surprised the Kings would go after another big (Marvin Bagley III) because Giles is going to be a problem. Expect a Harry Giles comeback story this season.


Report: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander told Cavs not to pick him

Shai Gilgeous Alexander

The Cleveland Cavaliers have the No. 8 pick in the NBA Draft, and one player they may want to avoid is Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst was on WKNR in Cleveland on Thursday and said that Gilgeous-Alexander refused to work out for the Cavs and told them he doesn’t want to play for them.

Gilgeous-Alexander played one season at Kentucky. He averaged 14.4 points, 5.1 assists and 4.1 rebounds last season. He shined during the SEC Tournament with a 29-point effort against Tennessee, and he put up 27 against Buffalo in the NCAA Tournament. We’re expecting him to make a big impact on whatever team that drafts him.

Report: Raptors hoping to acquire draft pick to select Kentucky standout

The Toronto Raptors don’t have a draft pick right now, but they’re trying to change that to get a shot at a player they apparently covet.

According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, the Raptors are willing to make anyone on their roster available to trade into the top ten to draft Kentucky guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

That’s a big statement considering the Raptors have stars such as DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry. Obviously parting with either for only a draft pick is probably not going to happen, but they’ve thought about it before, so perhaps it’s not quite as unlikely as it seems at first glance.

Moreover, this is a clear indication that the Raptors think they need to change some things. Despite winning 59 games, Toronto was swept in the Eastern Conference Finals, and now they’ve fired their coach and appear willing to make major changes to their roster.

10 NBA Draft prospects who will make an immediate impact

Luka Doncic

With Warriors-versus-Cavs 4.0 in the books, NBA fans are already obsessing over the offseason. Where will LeBron sign? Which other superstars could be on the move? Which contenders will morph into bottom-feeders, and vice versa?

In this wildly unpredictable league, it seems like anything could happen.

Before the July 1 commencement of free agency, however, teams are focused on the draft. Last year’s draft provided immediate-impact players for playoff teams like the Jazz (Donovan Mitchell), Celtics (Jayson Tatum), and Warriors (Jordan Bell). Other rookies, like Lonzo Ball and Lauri Markkanen, didn’t play for contenders, but they were starters from day one and had a significant influence on their team’s fortunes.

With this year’s draft fast approaching – it’s slated for Thursday, June 21 – we have identified 10 prospects who are positioned to immediately jump into the rotation and make an impact for their new teams.

10. Jalen Brunson, PG, Villanova

Brunson will never be a captivating highlight-reel guy. He plays below the rim, and there isn’t much flash in his game. But the guy possesses all the intangibles. He was the unquestioned leader on Jay Wright’s national title squad. Brunson, the Naismith Player of the Year and son of former NBA player Rick Brunson, is only 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds, but he has a strong frame; no one is going to push him around. The junior from Illinois also possesses incredible basketball IQ and maturity. Don’t expect him to experience a rough transition to the pro level. He knows what he can and cannot do, and that self-awareness should position him for success.


Each Sweet 16 team’s most important player

Marvin Bagley

We’re down to 16 teams left vying for the national championship in college basketball, and each one has charted a very different path to get here. In a tournament filled with upsets, stars have emerged in unexpected places, and some teams now have dreams of playing in the Final Four that they might not have had last week.

Here are 16 key players — one for each team — who will have a big say in who makes it to the Elite Eight later this week.

1) Marvin Bagley III, Duke

After Rhode Island was bludgeoned 87-62 by the Blue Devils, Rams coach Dan Hurley remarked that going up against Duke was like facing an NBA team. That’s because Duke has a handful of NBA players, chief among them being Bagley. Out of all the players left in the tournament, the freshman may well have the most ability to take over any game he’s playing in.

Though he has yet to put up one of his notorious double-doubles in the tournament, Bagley has been remarkably consistent. He has scored 22 points in each game so far, adding seven rebounds against Iona and nine against Rhode Island. The Syracuse bigs are going to have a very tough time dealing with him.


10 future lottery picks to watch in the NCAA Tournament

Michael Porter Jr

After weeks of speculation about which teams would squeak in and who would be left out, after Joe Lunardi frantically updated his Bracketology predictions dozens of times, the NCAA Tournament is finally here.

Aside from the shocking upsets, the dramatic buzzer-beaters, and the emergence of unlikely heroes, one of the best parts of the tournament each year is getting the opportunity to watch future lottery picks — many of whom will be one-and-done — compete with each other at the collegiate level. The 2017 tournament included Kansas’ Josh Jackson, UCLA’s Lonzo Ball, Duke’s Jayson Tatum, Arizona’s Lauri Markkanen, and Kentucky’s De’Aaron Fox, among others.

The top 11 picks in the NBA’s 2017 draft were freshmen or international players, and nine of them played in the tournament. One (Gonzaga’s Zach Collins) made it all the way to the Final Four.

So, which future NBA players should you keep an eye on as the tourney gets underway? Which prospects could blossom into household names this March? Here are 10 future lottery picks to watch.

10. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, G, Kentucky