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Kentucky guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, potential lottery pick, declares for NBA draft


in the second round of the 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at Taco Bell Arena on March 17, 2018 in Boise, Idaho.

Ezra Shaw

Another Kentucky one-and-done.

Following Kevin Knox (and numerous players before them), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is turning pro.

Kentucky release:

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s meteoric rise will continue with his eligibility in the 2018 NBA Draft. The Kentucky men’s basketball freshman guard plans to enter his name in this year’s draft and will sign with an agent, which would effectively end his collegiate career at UK.

Gilgeous-Alexander has improved throughout the season to the point he could be a lottery pick. He’ll probably go in the first round.

Like most combo guards, Gilgeous-Alexander has the most upside at point guard. Also like most combo guards, the 6-foot-6 Alexander is tall for a point guard but doesn’t have the requisite skills yet for that position.

Gilgeous-Alexander’s top asset is his 7-foot wingspan. He uses it to shoot from evasive angles on drives, as he’s comfortable absorbing contact while flipping up shots. That’s an important skill considering he lacks the hops to play above the rim. His length also helps with strong defense on and off the ball. However, Gilgeous-Alexander’s defensive versatility will be limited unless he gets stronger – not a given, considering his narrow frame.

Gilgeous-Alexander is too sloppy with the ball, and he’s not an advanced distributor. But move him off the ball, and his reluctance to shoot 3-pointers becomes an even bigger issue.

Gilgeous-Alexander’s improvement throughout the season instills confidence. It indicates a strong work ethic and determination. He’ll need that to refine his game.