3: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
Gilgeous-Alexander was selected by the Clippers with the 11th pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. He gradually proved to be a key contributor on a team that surprisingly won 48 games and nearly upset the Durant-Curry-Thompson-Green Warriors in the first round of the playoffs.
The 20-year-old guard averaged 14.7 points and 4.9 assists per game on incredibly efficient 52-43-76 shooting splits over the final 15 games of the regular season. He also scored over 20 points twice in LA’s six postseason games.
However, Kawhi Leonard expressed a desire to come to the Clippers but only if they’d trade for Paul George as his star teammate. It seemed like a no-brainer at the time to include Gilgeous-Alexander in the deal in order to bring two superstar-level talents.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has blossomed in Oklahoma City
Now 24 years old, Gilgeous-Alexander just finished a breakout season where he averaged 31.4 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 5.5 assists while shooting over 50% from the field. He became a first-time All-Star and is now the face of a Thunder franchise that just completed its best season in three years.
The Clippers have also been successful after the trade, but they haven’t achieved the postseason glory that many suspected they would after acquiring Leonard and George. Injuries and blown series leads have been the story of the playoffs in this current Clippers era, with both superstars appearing together in just 24 of 37 total postseason games.