Clip­pers rookie a quick study

Gil­geous-Alexan­der is learn­ing to be a bet­ter point guard un­der Rivers and as­sis­tant Cas­sell.

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Brod­er­ick Turner brod­er­[email protected]­times.com

Tute­lage un­der Doc Rivers and Sam Cas­sell “a priv­i­lege” Shai Gil­geous Alexan­der says.

His teach­ers were once the same type of stu­dents Shai Gil­geous-Alexan­der is now. When Clip­pers coach Doc Rivers and as­sis­tant coach Sam Cas­sell of­fer in­struc­tions to the prized rookie, he un­der­stands both know of what they speak.

Gil­geous-Alexan­der is be­ing taught the nu­ances of play­ing point guard from two for­mer NBA play­ers who were suc­cess­ful dur­ing their time in the league play­ing the po­si­tion.

Over the course of 13 sea­sons in the NBA that had stops with At­lanta, the Clip­pers, New York and San Antonio, Rivers was a start­ing point guard and that is rea­son enough in Gil­geous-Alexan­der’s eyes to pay close at­ten­tion to his coach.

“It’s a priv­i­lege,” Gil­geous-Alexan­der said be­fore the Clip­pers prac­ticed Fri­day. “He can show you things and see things that you al­most don’t see. You learn from him ev­ery day and I feel my­self get­ting bet­ter from it.”

Over the course of 15 sea­sons in the NBA that had stops with eight teams, Cas­sell de­vel­oped into a sen­sa­tional point guard who won two NBA ti­tles in Hous­ton, more than rea­son enough for Gil­geousAlexan­der to lis­ten to the talk­a­tive as­sis­tant.

“I learn so much from both of them ev­ery day,” Gil­geous-Alexan­der said. “Lit­tle things they see, but also what I see out there. They just try to help me out along this process.”

He is the start­ing point guard now for the Clip­pers, av­er­ag­ing 10.7 points, 3.3 re­bounds and 3.0 as­sists.

His con­stant con­ver­sa­tions with Rivers and Cas­sell have helped his growth.

“His big­gest thing is just me learn­ing ev­ery day and get­ting bet­ter,” Gil­geous-Alexan­der said of Rivers. “As long as I do that, I’ll be good. With him and Sam in my ear ev­ery day, I have no choice.”

Rivers wasn’t at prac­tice Fri­day, but the team said he’ll be at Satur­day’s game against the Mi­ami Heat at Sta­ples Cen­ter.

Clip­pers as­sis­tant coach Rex Kalamian, who is in charge of the team’s de­fense, dis­cussed how im­pressed they all are with Gil­geousAlexan­der’s “com­po­sure” and “calm­ing ap­proach” when he plays.

“Doc, I know, is al­ways on him about what he can do to im­prove of­fen­sively,” Kalamian said. “And I’m al­ways on him about what he can do de­fen­sively to im­prove. We’re go­ing to have to un­der­stand that those things will come with time and some jumps he can make au­to­mat­i­cally about who he’s guard­ing and what the league is about. We can teach him that quickly. I think some things he’s go­ing to pick up in time.”

Gil­geous-Alexan­der has one prob­lem his coaches can’t solve: trans­porta­tion.

“I don’t have a car yet,” Gil­geous-Alexan­der, 20, said.

And he doesn’t yet have a driver’s li­cense. So how does he get around? “Um, Uber,” Gil­geous-Alexan­der said, smil­ing. “Friends.”

Do Uber drivers ever rec­og­nize him?

“Some­times,” Gil­geous-Alexan­der said, smil­ing again. “But I’m smart. I put my hoodie on when I go into the Uber.” TONIGHT VS. MI­AMI When: 7:30. On the air: TV: Prime Ticket; Ra­dio: 570, 1330. Up­date: The Clip­pers have won nine con­sec­u­tive games at Sta­ples Cen­ter, the long­est ac­tive home win­ning streak in the NBA. Lou Wil­liams is ranked first in the league in bench scor­ing at 17.6 points a game and Mon­trezl Har­rell is ranked fourth with 16.1 points per game. The two of them are the only pair of team­mates off the bench in the league to av­er­age 15plus points this sea­son.

Allen J. Sch­aben Los An­ge­les Times

CLIP­PERS GUARD Shai Gil­geous-Alexan­der is av­er­ag­ing 10.7 points, 3.3 re­bounds and 3.0 as­sists. Con­ver­sa­tions with coach Doc Rivers and as­sis­tant Sam Cas­sell have helped his de­vel­op­ment.

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