Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is officially in a slump.
What seemed to be a quick two-game aberration has now turned into a 15 game slide. In the month of January, SGA is averaging: 6.0 PPG, 3.6 APG, 1.9 RPG, 25% from three, 45% from the field, and playing only 19.0 MPG. Nearly every single one of those numbers (except for assists) is a career low for him. His early confidence has turned into trepidation and mental mistakes.
For a comparison, in the month of November (the Clippers’ best month), he averaged: 12.1 PPG, 2.9 APG, 3.6 RPG, 31% from three, 46% from the field, and played 29,0 MPG. Shai was playing with supreme confidence, attacking downhill and creating offense for the team. The Clippers don’t have a true point guard right now, and anyone who creates offense is desperately needed.
As Shai has continued to struggle this month, head coach Doc Rivers has continued to cut his minutes.
“He just isn’t playing well,” Rivers said. “We’ve been patient with him. Very patient.”
Despite the lack of minutes, Rivers hasn’t lost faith in Shai. He knows the young rookie will still blossom into a big star. A lot of Shai’s lost minutes will likely be given to Tyrone Wallace.
“He’s just struggling,” Rivers said. “He’s going to be a star, I have no doubt about that.”
Clippers forward Montrezl Harrell offered reassuring advice for the rookie, mentioning that he’s already spoken to him about it.
“We’ve talked to him,” Harrell said. “That’s all you can do. He’s going to have fight his way out of it. Every guy has hit that wall, I’ve hit it myself. It’s tough to get out of it, but we’re in the NBA.”
Harrell is no stranger to hitting a wall. He started off the season slow, but ended pushing his way into becoming a 6th Man of the Year / Most Improved Player candidate. That exact experience helps give Harrell perspective on knowing that Shai will be okay.
“We bring him into good spirits to let him know he’s going to be okay,” Harrell said. “He’s a very special player, and does a lot of stuff for us both on the offensive and defensive end. So he’s just gotta believe in himself, and take it back to how he started at the beginning of the year.”
No one on the Clippers roster has lost faith in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Whenever he gets past this wall, which he will, it will be business as usual for the young rookie.