The Clippers played their final game before the first round of tournament games on Monday night at the Las Vegas Summer League and despite the 104-90 blowout loss to the Houston Rockets, Canadian Shai Gilgeous-Alexander looked like one of the best players of the 2018 NBA Draft class.
Gilgeous-Alexander finished with a team-high 25 points on 12-for-21 from the field. The majority of his field goals came in the paint as he showed his ability to blow by defenders with a lightning quick first step. He's been a nightmare for opposing teams so far in pick-and-roll situations, something that his former teammate at Kentucky Kevin Knox thinks will carry over to the regular season.
"I just feel like he's one of the best guards in this class when it comes to pick-and-roll," Knox told NBA Canada. "You can tell right now he knows how to really finish well, he did that at Kentucky.
"I feel like the NBA right now is all pick-and-rolls, getting to the basket, be able to make reads and that's what he's best at."
Knox who went two picks ahead of Gilgeous-Alexander in the draft ninth overall to the New York Knicks spent one season sharing the floor with the Hamilton native at the University of Kentucky.
Sitting courtside for most of Monday night's game, he saw Gilgeous-Alexander not only dazzle with his offensive ability but also display the leadership quality most coaches hope for in their point guard.
Gilgeous-Alexander was noticeably the most vocal Clipper on both ends of the floor constantly barking out orders and relaying his coach's message to his teammates - a familiar sight according to Knox.
"He's a great locker room guy," the Knicks draftee continued. "He's going to talk in the locker room, he's going to motivate guys. On the court, he's just going to handle his business, off the court in the locker room he's going to make sure that everyone knows what they're doing and making sure that everyone is in the right place."
Both Knox and Gilgeous-Alexander are now part of a long list of former Wildcats that made it to the NBA as a lottery pick. A list that includes John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis and even Canadian Jamal Murray.
With so many talented Kentucky alumni in playing in the league, bragging rights become more valuable than ever. Knox acknowledged that he's looking forward to playing his former college teammate in a regular season game and while their relationship off-court may be all fun and games, on the court winning will be the ultimate goal.
"We're all fun and stuff off the court, but you know on the court we mean business and we're trying to make sure that we win as much as possible.
"I know we're going to go at each other - in pick-and-rolls. I know point guards are going to guard point guards but if we get a switch in pick-and-rolls that's when we'll go at each other."