Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has had a special rookie season. While his production has been inconsistent, his maturity, skill-level, and overall impact are far beyond his years. Shai has been rewarded for his stellar play with a berth in the 2019 Rising Stars Game, which will take place Friday, February 15th at 6:00 PM Pacific Time.
Born in Ontario, Canada, Shai is on Team World, which will compete against USA in the contest. Each team has 10 players in their rookie or sophomore seasons, creating a pool of 20 young stars who will hopefully make major impacts in the NBA in the years to come. Of the 20 players, only 8 are rookies, further demonstrating Shai’s standout play.
Shai has played in each of the Clippers’ 51 games thus far, and is averaging 9.9 points, 2.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 1.0 steals per game on 46.7% shooting from the field, 32.5% from three, and 83.3% from the free throw line. Per Clippers PR, in NBA history, only Larry Bird and Kyrie Irving have exceeded that statline in their rookie season. Arbitrary, sure, but still a sign of how good Shai has been: it’s always great to be in the company of Bird and Kyrie.
While the Rising Stars game, like most of All Star Weekend, is not to be taken super seriously, it’s still an honor to be named to the team. The Clippers have not had a Rising Star since Eric Bledsoe and Al-Farouq Aminu all the way back in 2010. Shai is the Clippers’ best young player since Blake Griffin, and it’s great to see him recognized as such. Hopefully this is just the first of many accolades to come in Shai’s career.
The Clippers other rookie, Jerome Robinson, was not named to the team, but this is unsurprising considering his limited playing time thus far this season. Maybe next season Jerome!