The Washington Wizards hold the 15th and 44th overall picks in the 2018 NBA Draft. Here is the latest in our series on draft prospects projected to be picked around where the Wizards will select...
2018 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
Position: Point guard/shooting guard
Age: 19 (turns 20 in July)
Max vertical: 36
2017/18 stats: 14.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 5.1 apg, 1.6 spg, 0.5 bpg, 48.5 FG%, 40.4 3PT% (0.6 3P/1.5 3PA), 81.7 FT%
Player comparison: Shaun Livingston/Ron Harper
Projections: NBC Sports Washington 14th, NBADraft.net 12th, Bleacher Report 14th, Sports Illustrated 13th
5 things to know:
*A tall and athletic point guard, Gilgeous-Alexander was smooth and efficient running the offense at Kentucky. He scored, dished assists, rebounded very well for his position and forced turnovers on the defensive end. Gilgeous-Alexander is a smart player and seems like a relatively safe pick, especially for a team looking to start him as a backup point guard with the ability to start down the road.
*Gilgeous-Alexander has potential to be a plus-shooter at the NBA level. He shot 40.4 percent from three in his one season at Kentucky. What he will need to show beyond backing up to NBA range is the ability to shoot at a high percentage with volume. The real threats from the perimeter in the NBA can not only shoot efficiently, but can get hot enough to alter games. Gilgeous-Alexander never hit more than two threes in a single game at UK.
*Gilgeous-Alexander could be a solid perimeter defender, especially if he adds some weight to his frame. He does a good job of using his plus-wingspan to affect passing lanes and get steals. He averaged 1.6 steals per game and seven times this year had three steals or more. Gilgeous-Alexander showed his versatility on both ends in the NCAA Tournament against Davidson when he posted a line of 19 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and five steals.
*A question for teams evaluating Gilgeous-Alexander will be his ceiling. Is there All-Star potential or will he top out as a solid rotation player? He's a methodical, smooth player but sometimes teams favor the flashy, rim-rattling athletic guys in the draft.
*He is originally from Canada and his mother, Charmaine Gilgeous, represented the country in track and field at the 1992 Olympics. Gilgeous-Alexander has played for Canada at the international level in FIBA tournaments.
Fit with Wizards: Gilgeous-Alexander would help the Wizards in a variety of ways. He would help shore up their point guard depth chart behind John Wall, a problem the Wizards have been trying to solve for years. He would give the Wizards some serious height at the point guard position between Wall (6-4) and Tomas Satoransky (6-7).
Gilgeous-Alexander may also be able to play some shooting guard. He certainly has the size and length to guard opposing twos. The question would be whether he can play off-the-ball offensively. Gilgeous-Alexander can shoot, but can he shoot well enough to co-exist with Wall in the backcourt when Bradley Beal isn't on the floor?
The problem with Gilgeous-Alexander for the Wizards would be the fact there is no long-term chance for him to start with Wall and Beal locked up at the guard position. Ideally, a guy taken at 15th overall could someday be a starter. Also, Gilgeous-Alexander may have some redundancy with Satoransky. That's no reason to pass on a really good player in the draft, but it's something to consider.
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