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NBA Mock Draft: L.A. Clippers Select Shai Gilgeous-Alexander from Kentucky

SB Nation’s NBA Network conducted a mock draft with bloggers from each team site making their team’s pick. With the 12th pick, the Clippers take Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

Kansas State v Kentucky Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

NBA Mock Draft Pick #12 — Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Guard, Kentucky

SB Nation’s L.A. Clippers blog Clips Nation explains the pick:

With back-to-back picks at 12 and 13, the Clippers would have loved to position themselves with one guard and one wing for the future, but with Mikal Bridges, Zhaire Smith, and Miles Bridges all going off the board with the three picks preceding LA’s, that wasn’t going to be possible. When pick 12 came up, the two most enticing players left on our board were Collin Sexton and Shai Gilgeous Alexander--both point guards. Even as believers in best player available, we didn’t want to move forward by adding two lottery point guards to an already-crowded guard rotation that features Patrick Beverley, Milos Teodosic, Lou Williams, and Ausitn Rivers (plus Avery Bradley’s bird rights). It also didn’t make a lot of sense for us to reach for a wing or big, where Troy Brown and Robert Williams are both fine prospects who didn’t quite maximize our value at 13. So, giving a slight edge to SGA over Sexton, we took him at 12 and were able to move pick 13 while exchanging Gallinari’s burdensome contract for Evan Fournier, who becomes a major building block on the wing.

The choice between SGA and Sexton isn’t an easy one and it’s probably something that a lot of teams are split on in the real NBA. For the Clippers, it’s Shai’s size and versatility that puts him ahead of Sexton. In the short term, his 6’6” frame and combination of primary and secondary ball-handling skills allows him to fit in nicely in a variety of Clipper lineups, which typically feature no traditional ball-dominant point guard but rather two combo guards. Additionally, his ability and size defensively will provide a boost to a rotation that features two very poor defenders in Teodosic and Williams. In the long-term, the same versatility that will give SGA utility as a rookie allows him to be the kind of flexible supporting piece whose position and role can adapt based upon which other players are brought in. The Clippers’ pursuit of a star to lead our next great team can now be positionless, with our three main pieces all capable at two positions: SGA (PG/SG), Fournier (SG/SF) and Tobias Harris (SF/PF).

  1. Suns DEANDRE AYTON
  2. Kings LUKA DONCIC
  3. Hawks JAREN JACKSON
  4. Grizzlies MARVIN BAGLEY III
  5. Mavs WENDELL CARTER JR.
  6. Magic MO BAMBA
  7. Bulls MICHAEL PORTER JR.
  8. Cavaliers TRAE YOUNG
  9. Knicks MIKAL BRIDGES
  10. Sixers ZHAIRE SMITH
  11. Mavs MILES BRIDGES
  12. Clippers SHAI GILGEOUS-ALEXANDER
  13. Magic ELIE OKOBO
  14. Nuggets KEVIN KNOX
  15. Wizards ROBERT WILLIAMS
  16. Suns COLLIN SEXTON
  17. Bucks LONNIE WALKER
  18. Spurs TROY BROWN
  19. Hawks DE’ANTHONY MELTON
  20. Wolves KEVIN HUERTER
  21. Jazz CHANDLER HUTCHISON
  22. Bulls JOSH OKOGIE
  23. Pacers KEITA BATES-DIOP
  24. Nets GRAYSON ALLEN
  25. Lakers AARON HOLIDAY
  26. Sixers JACOB EVANS
  27. Celtics JEROME ROBINSON
  28. Warriors KHYRI THOMAS
  29. Blazers DONTE DIVINCENZO
  30. Hawks MELVIN FRAZIER