TORONTO — Canadian guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is headed to the Los Angeles Clippers.
The 19-year-old from Hamilton was taken No. 11 by the Charlotte Hornets but was traded moments later to the Clippers for the draft rights to Miles Bridges and a couple of second-round picks.
Gilgeous-Alexander, whose draft night attire had social media buzzing, showed rapid improvement in his one season at Kentucky. He came off the bench before working his way into the starting lineup, and scored 16.4 points per night the rest of the way. He averaged over 19 points, almost seven assists, and shot over 50 per cent from three-point range in his final 10 games with the Wildcats.
Considered the best point guard in the draft, Gilgeous-Alexander has impressive length — he’s six foot six, with a six-foot-11 wingspan.
“It’s a great feeling, being able to play in the NBA in itself is a blessing, and something not a lot of kids get to experience, and me being one of them is an amazing feeling,” he said.
Long before his name was called at Barclays Center, Gilgeous-Alexander was all over the internet for his champagne-coloured floral suit. It was made by Jhoanna Alba, whose company ALBA is known for dressing over 1,000 pro athletes and entertainers.
The fashion was a highlight on an otherwise hum-drum draft night.
Trae Young, who’s headed to Atlanta, wore suit-shorts, similar to LeBron James’ Bermuda shorts style during the playoffs.
“I wanted to be different,” Young said. “No one has ever rocked the shorts before at the draft.”
Wendell Carter Jr. wore a Gucci scarf inspired by “Black Panther.” Even his parents wore Gucci outfits bearing tigers inspired by the Marvel Comics movie.
Gilgeous-Alexander follows a string of Canadian lottery picks.
Anthony Bennett became the Canadian to be picked No. 1 overall, going first to Cleveland in 2013. Andrew Wiggins followed him a year later, also selected by the Cavaliers with the first overall pick.
Tristan Thompson was the highest Canadian draft pick before Bennett when he went fourth to Cleveland in 2011.
The Toronto Raptors don’t have a pick in this year’s draft, although have talked about trading into the draft.