Just four seasons ago, Kentucky was pretty certain that Quade Green was the PG1 of the roster, with the young, top-50 Canadian prospect of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander being just a contributor off the bench for the season.
At media day in 2017, John Calipari told reporters that he was impressed with what he was seeing in Shai and many people just laughed it off, not taking it very seriously. Not that they didn't believe Shai was capable, but more so that Quade was the guy..
If it wasn't for a second half Quade Green eye injury in December versus Monmouth, we might have never gotten to see the explosion of SGA. If anything, it might have had to happened in the following season. When Quade ended up being sidelined for a few games, Shai took over the starting role "temporarily," except, Quade never got that role back. The name of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in the state of Kentucky became known all around, and the rest was history.
After being named an All-SEC Freshman in 2018, he earned himself the No. 11 pick in the NBA Draft by the Charlotte Hornets, which was later traded to the Los Angeles Clippers.
After a very successful rookie season in LA, he was shipped off in a blockbuster deal which sent Paul George to the Clippers, and Shai to Oklahoma City. After two seasons in OKC, it has become clear that the organization wants to build around him, tagging him to a five-year, $172 million maximum rookie contract extension.
Shai has done way better in the NBA than anyone could've predicted he would have, and as a Thunder fan myself, I can't help but be so excited to watch him pick up the broken glass that Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook left behind. He deserved this pay day, and now it's time to win.