Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Chris Paul has been a great mentor to second-year guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander this season.
Paul is one of the fiercest and smartest players in NBA history. There’s no one better than Paul for Gilgeous-Alexander to learn under.
One of the things Paul has been telling Gilgeous-Alexander to do this season is guard the other team’s best player at his position. The future Hall of Famer says he used to guard Allen Iverson and Gilbert Arenas when he came into the league because those were the two best guards in the NBA at the time:
“And I’m constantly telling Shai all the time that, ‘I had to go out there and try and guard AI. I had to try and guard Gil. It’s cuz it’s alright to get your ass busted on a given night…you’re learning,” Chris Paul told Taylor Rooks of Bleacher Report.
“That’s what I’m always on Shai about. You know, on this given night, you guard such and such. But at the same time, guess what, I don’t think he can guard you.”
Behind Paul and SGA, the Thunder are 36-22 on the season. They are in fifth place in the rugged Western Conference standings, but are only three games out of the third seed. Most pundits thought OKC was going to tank this season after trading superstars Russell Westbrook and Paul George in the same summer, but Paul and Gilgeous-Alexander had other ideas.
Paul is averaging 17.5 points, 5.1 rebounds, 6.7 assists and 1.5 steals per game for the Thunder on 48.6 percent shooting from the field. He made the All-Star team this season for the first time since 2016, when he was on the Los Angeles Clippers.
Gilgeous-Alexander, meanwhile, is surely going to be an All-Star one day. The Thunder’s budding star is putting up 19.4 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists.