Imagine the Sixers with a combo guard opposite Ben Simmons that can do a little bit of everything, but most importantly, create his own shot?
Oh, wait. No one is forgetting about Markelle Fultz and the belief is he will be on the attack next season after a critical summer of training.
However, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander provides many of the traits Fultz did coming out of college. While not the same prolific scorer as the No. 1 overall pick a season ago, Gilgeous-Alexander did prove to be an all-around performer during his lone season at Kentucky. He averaged 14.4 points, 5.1 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 1.6 steals for the Wildcats.
Gilgeous-Alexander has combined that versatility with tenacious on-ball defense to become one of the top guard prospects in this year’s draft class.
You can take one look at Gilgeous-Alexander and recognize his biggest asset: length. The 19-year old has a 6-11 1/2 wingspan and an 8-8 standing reach.
He uses that to his advantage on both ends of the court. The lanky Gilgeous-Alexander can finish over defenders at the rim (he also uses both hands extremely well and has one of the best Eurosteps you’ll see from a player that young). Defensively, he can get into his man’s airspace from farther away and takes those long arms to wreak havoc in the passing lanes.
And while the Toronto native isn’t the most polished scorer, he has shown he can get buckets at all three levels on the floor. Gilgeous-Alexander loves to get inside the paint but can also pull up in the midrange and knock down shots from beyond the arc (40.4 percent on three-pointers).
Still, what NBA teams may love the most about Gilgeous-Alexander is his ability to raise his game when the stakes are highest. In six combined SEC Tournament and NCAA Tournament games, he boosted his averages to 20.6 points, 6.3 assists and 5.6 boards a game.
As much as his frame will help Gilgeous-Alexander at the pro level, the lack of muscle surrounding it will be an issue. Despite standing 6-6, his weight of 180 pounds ranked 40 out of 42 guards at the NBA combine. Not exactly ideal when stepping up to face grown men. Just imagine him trying to defend Simmons on the block.
Another problem for Gilgeous-Alexander is his tendency to overthink at times on the offensive side. He can pound the ball into the ground looking for the right lane to the hoop or open passing angle.
How he’d fit with Sixers
As mentioned above, the Sixers don’t really have much use for a player with Gilgeous-Alexander’s skill set with Fultz already on the roster. If the Sixers go the guard route at No. 10, you can believe he will be a sharpshooter like Trae Young.
It’s hard to remember just how dangerous he was on the verge of being before suffering a horrific knee injury, but Shaun Livingston was going to be a serious threat in the league. Gilgeous-Alexander appears to check off many of the same boxes — supreme size, willing passer, decent rebounder, ability to get to the rim and finish with either hand, solid midrange shooting and active defender. The thing that might give Gilgeous-Alexander the edge is if he can continue to shoot threes at a high level.
The Sixers will likely skip over Gilgeous-Alexander, but the guard shouldn’t last much longer than that. Look for him to go in the final few selections of the lottery.