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Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s trainer thinks the Thunder sophomore is the best guard in 2018 draft class


For Olin Simplis, trainer of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of Oklahoma City Thunder, his client is the best guard in the 2018 draft class and is bound to make waves with his new team.

Speaking with Brett Dawson of The Athletic, Simplis briefly recalled Gilgeous-Alexander’s stint with the Los Angeles Clippers. From Simplis’ point of view, the team was loaded with players who formed an intrinsic part of the offense. Despite this, Shai — the 11th overall pick in 2018 — still made an impact.

“Even last year I think he didn’t show fully what he was capable of. The Clippers were a really good team. He’s playing next to Pat Bev, at the time Avery Bradley, Lou Williams. Danilo Gallinari, Tobias Harris — those are guys who demand some touches, and he still impacted the game and he made a way for himself. I still believe as good as Trae Young is — and he had a phenomenal year — I believe Shai’s the best guard in last year’s draft class.”

In his rookie campaign, the Kentucky product played 82 games (73 starts) and averaged 10.8 points, 3.3 assists, and 2.8 rebounds across 26.5 minutes. In the Clippers’ playoff campaign, Gilgeous-Alexander played and started all six games and averaged 13.7 points, 3.2 assists, and 2.7 rebounds.

It’s definitely a strong and confident statement from Simplis. After all, the 2018 draft class includes top guards like Collin Sexton and Trae Young — two players who are expected to blow up in the next few years. With Simplis’ assurance, expect Gilgeous-Alexander to forge his name right beside the top guards of his class.