Shai Gilgeous-Alexander arrived at Oklahoma City Thunder from the Los Angeles Clippers as part of the trade that saw Paul George move in the opposite direction. The 21-year-old shooting guard is highly regarded in the NBA and Thunder look at him as the future of the team as they begin their rebuilding process.

Thunder also lost the face of the franchise, Russell Westbrook, this summer after he moved to Houston Rockets again via trade and Gilgeous-Alexander is now being groomed as the foundation ahead of the rebuild. The young shooting guard, however, has made it clear that he is not in the team to fill the large boots left behind by Westbrook and wants to make his own name in the league.

“I am not Russell Westbrook,” Gilgeous-Alexander said, as quoted on The Athletic. “We do not have the same name, same body type, nothing like that. I’m just gonna try to be myself and be the best me. Everything else will take care of itself.”

The former Clippers guard praised Westbrook, who has been the face of Thunder for most of the 11 years he spent in Oklahoma. Gilgeous-Alexander admitted that the bar is set pretty high but remained adamant that he is not chasing Westbrook’s achievements with the team.

Russell Westbrook Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder before the game against the Los Angeles Lakers during a 107-100 Thunder win at Staples Center in Los Angeles, Jan. 2, 2019. Photo: Harry How/Getty Images

“He’s done obviously a lot of great things for the city and the organization,” Gilgeous-Alexander said. “Set the bar pretty high. But I’m not trying to chase his achievements or anything like that. He’s just done a great job and deserves to be commended for it.”

The Oklahoma franchise also acquired veteran point guard Chris Paul from the Rockets as part of the Westbrook trade but they are willing to offload him if they receive a satisfactory trade offer. Paul does not fit into their rebuilding model at the moment, but they are not willing to give him on the cheap.

Thunder is ready to start the season with Paul on board as they feel it could be beneficial to have an experienced player on and off the court. Gilgeous-Alexander underlined the benefits by revealing that the veteran guard is helping him in his game but chose to keep the details a secret.

“He’s obviously a really good player,” Gilgeous-Alexander said. “He’s been a really good player for a really long time, and I guy that I looked up to growing up. So I’ll continue to learn from him as long as I get to.”