Gilgeous-Alexander starring at Summer League, enjoying chats with the Logo West

LAS VEGAS — Shai Gilgeous-Alexander exceeded expectations — and then some — at Summer League.

The 11th pick of the draft, selected after Trae Young (No. 5) and Collin Sexton (No. 8) was being pegged at this early stage by quite a few media members as a potential standout and steal.

“Clippers got a good one with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Has all the ingredients to be the best PG from the 2018 draft class (excluding Doncic),” tweeted ESPN draft specialist Mike Schmitz.

“Tools, touch, almost always makes the right play, high intangibles. Still shocked he went outside the top 10.”

Gilgeous-Alexander and the Los Angeles Clippers played late Friday night but in his first four appearances, he averaged 19 points on 46% shooting, 4.0 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game.

“I’m getting more comfortable each and every game with the speed and the physicality of the pro game,” the Hamilton native said earlier this week.

The Clippers coaching staff wants Gilgeous-Alexander to “trim the fat” off of his shot selection a bit (meaning take good shots and look to distribute the ball at other times), but has otherwise been thrilled by his work.

Gilgeous-Alexander said he tries to use his change of pace dribbling ability “to keep guys on their heels, off balance.”

He added that he hopes to add strength and work on his three-point shot in order to rise to a higher level as a rookie.

He’s been excited about the regular opportunities to chat with all-time great Jerry West, now a Clippers executive.

“It’s pretty cool, because obviously he’s the Logo,” he said pointing at an NBA logo on the backdrop behind him.

“He’s been good so far, obviously being a legend it’s pretty cool. We’ve had some conversations.”

During the leadup to the draft Gilgeous-Alexander played it coy about which teams he had worked out for and he continued with his mysterious streak when asked about what is said during those conversations with West.

“Those are secrets, I can’t share that with you guys,” he said.

THOMAS’ SAD STORY
Once a potential max player and an all-star, Isaiah Thomas had to settle for the league minimum from the Denver Nuggets. Thomas was not able to return to form in either Cleveland or Los Angeles after tearing his labrum and now will try to re-establish himself on a solid Denver squad ahead of free agency next summer, when far more teams are expected to have cap room.

Thomas will backup Canadian Jamal Murray.

From fifth in MVP voting, to having to accept a tiny deal, the Thomas saga has to be an unprecedented one.

NETS KEEP ADDING
The Brooklyn Nets continue to make savvy moves to acquire draft picks years after the old regime set the franchise back decades by dealing a bevy of lucrative future picks to Boston.

A year after getting a first and second-round pick from Toronto to take on DeMarre Carroll Nets general manager and ex-Raptor Sean Marks picked up a first and a second from Denver for taking on the $21 combined owed to power forwards Kenneth Faried and Darrell Arthur.

The Nuggets had previously dealt a second-round pick to Philadelphia, along with forward Wilson Chandler, who was owed $13.8 million.

Now the books are a lot more reasonable in Denver (the team has probably saved roughly $65 million in luxury tax bills with the two moves), though a lot of future picks will be owed.

The pick going to Brooklyn is protected 1-12.

Meanwhile, the point guard heavy Nets sent Jeremy Lin to Atlanta, according to ESPN, for a second round pick in 2025 and the right to swap seconds in 2023 and the rights to a player who likely won’t come over, again, per ESPN.
Lin only played in one game last season, but could work alongside rookie Trae Young. Dennis Schroder’s future in Atlanta was already shaky and now there is no spot for him. Faried, Arthur and Lin each have expiring contracts.

MAGIC IS EXCITED
Magic Johnson is understandably excited about adding LeBron James to the Lakers.
Johnson said the four-time MVP’s arrival takes the team’s three-year rebuilding plan to “a whole ‘nother level” and said James has and will have input on the team’s free agency decisions.

As for adding somebody else like, hint, hint, Kawhi Leonard:
“If we feel there’s somebody out there or a deal to be made to make our team better, then we’ll do it as long as it’s a great deal for us,” Johnson said on a conference call on Friday.

“If it’s not, we have our team and we’ll go to battle, go to war with this team. We feel really good about this team.

AROUND THE RIM
Reports have the Bulls working on preparing an offer sheet for Jabari Parker, who hails from Chicago and was the No. 2 pick of the 2014 draft but has twice torn an ACL … Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball will have surgery to repair his torn left meniscus on Tuesday … ESPN reported that Minnesota swingman Jimmy Butler has rejected a four-year, $110 million extension offer from the Timberwolves. The move was expected, as Butler can earn more money next summer either by staying, or signing with a new team.

Source:: Toronto Sun – Movies

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