Adelaide duo in the hunt for final Olympic selection

Picture: nbl.com.au

Whether or not the 2021 Tokyo Olympics go ahead remains to be seen but for now, teams must prepare for things to go as planned and the Boomers extended squad has been announced, including two of the hottest names in the NBL.

Josh Giddey (18) and Isaac Humphries (23) have been welcome additions to an Adelaide 36ers side that continues to improve as the NBL season rolls on.

Giddey, the point guard destined for the NBA draft and Humphries, the centre and former NBL rookie of the year, have both been impressive in a Sixers jersey and fans have certainly been lapping it up.

Giddey has shown an ability to perform on both sides of the floor and so far has proven his versatility.

Being a 6’8 point guard, his length has been a problem for opposition teams and his height allows him to have excellent court vision, culminating in a season high 10 assists against South East Melbourne on Tuesday night.

His averages show that he doesn’t just affect the game in one area, scoring 10 points per game to go along with six assists and six rebounds in his 28 minutes a night.

At such a young age, his game is still evolving, something that coach Connor Henry is keen to see continue throughout the season.

“Josh continues to grow just in the understanding of how to manage a game,” Henry said.

“That’s the part all of us are playing with him, to get him to understand how he can impact the game being the point guard.

“It’s probably the toughest position because he has to organise everybody, he has to understand his teammates strengths, he has to understand time and to score when there’s an opportunity for him to attack and then he has to be able to play defensively at a high level at a very young age.

“There’s a lot going on that requires him to run this team and he’s growing and we’re gonna grow with him.”

The growth of Josh and his playmaking ability has been advantageous for Humphries, who credits Giddey’s resilience as one of his most important attributes.

“Gid’s a great player, he does have that resilience and that ability to bounce back and move on and he’s a fighter and he wants to fight with us,” Humphries said.

“He’ll make that little error and try to redeem it and we see that a lot.

“Like we’ve been saying, he’s 18, there’s little things that we’ve got to help him with but the good thing about Gid is he’s so happy to learn and he’ll fight and turn it around and try to fix that mistake and redeem himself.

“It’s a really good quality of his.”

As for Humphries, the stats speak volumes about his performance, but they certainly don’t show the full picture of how impactful he has been.

His 3.3 blocks per game is the highest in the league and it’s not close, the next highest being 2.2 from Melbourne forward Jack White.

He is an elite rebounder, sitting fourth in rebounds per game with just shy of nine in his 27 minutes, making him a valuable guy to have around the rim on the defensive end.

Offensively, he has continued to bloom into one of the most dangerous big men in the competition.

He sits just outside of the top 10 in the league with 17 points per game with fellow big Daniel Johnson the only Sixer ahead of him in 5th with 20 per game.

Johnson, a five-time club MVP winner with Adelaide, speaks highly of Isaac and his ability to impact the game on both ends.

“I’ve been here a while but I don’t think I’ve played with a big who can do everything like Isaac so it’s been great for the team,” Johnson said.

“I think he’s helping everyone just with his defensive presence mostly, rebounding the ball and being really physical for us.

“I’ve been doing my best to space the floor so he can get some one-on-one opportunities.

“We’re really lucky to have him and if he can keep doing what he’s doing it’ll really help us.

“I don’t think anyone can guard him one on one in the league.”

Humphries has made a number of highlight plays, his most recent effort a dunk over a number of South East Melbourne players .

He has made a habit of showing little regard for what stands between him and the hoop.

“I saw the lane and at that point I was like, ‘I don’t care what’s in front of me, I’m gonna dunk that’,” Humphries said of his dunk against the Phoenix.

“I like to play really hard, I pride myself on playing hard and with lots of effort.”

The Olympics squad, which is littered with talent, highlighted by NBA stars Patty Mills, Joe Ingles and Ben Simmons, is set to be shortened to a squad of just 12 closer to the Olympics.

Giddey and Humphries will be desperate to be included in that final roster but regardless of their involvement in the 2021 Olympics, the chances of future national selection look extremely positive for both moving forward.

Full 24-man squad:

Deng Adel, Aron Baynes, Ryan Broekhoff, Xavier Cooks, Mitch Creek, Matthew Dellavedova, Danté Euxm, Josh Giddey, Chris Goulding, Josh Green, Isaac Humphries, Joe Ingles, Nick Kay, Jock Landale, Mitch McCarron, William McDowell-White, Will Magnay, Thon Maker, Patty Mills, Brock Motum, Mitch Norton, Duop Reath, Ben Simmons, Matisse Thybulle

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