15/04/2024

Josh Giddey, Josh Green, Matisse Thybulle and Jock Landale could break out this NBA season. (Photos: NBA)

In this edition of Aussies in the NBA, we’ll examine the guys who could have breakout seasons: Josh Giddey, Josh Green, Matisse Thybulle and Jock Landale. We’ll discuss what lies ahead, as they look to take the leap in season 2022/23.

We’re going… back to the future:

Josh Giddey

Josh Giddey comes into this season with just a year of experience, although, he already has veteran tendencies. In the 2021/22 season, Giddey averaged 12.5 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 6.4 assists for Oklahoma City. Amidst what was a poor campaign for the Thunder, Giddey saw personal success, making the All-Rookie Second Team.

Josh Green

Frankly, it’s been an unassuming start to life in the NBA for Josh Green, who in two seasons averages four points, 2.3 rebounds and one assist. Green saw a plus-four in his minutes in the 2021/22 season, as he improved on most facets of his game, most notably his 3PT percentage from a paltry 16 per cent to an above-average 35.9 per cent.

Matisse Thybulle

Three seasons have come and gone in the NBA for ‘Tisse, and despite an unremarkable offensive game, he’s already announced himself as an elite defender. He has been credited with two All-Defensive team selections, having averaged over 1.5 steals and one block over the past two seasons.

Jock Landale

Similar to Giddey, Landale is just one year young in his NBA career. The former San Antonio Spur averaged 4.9 points and 2.6 rebounds last season, with his best game coming against the Pacers, where he dropped 26 points and seven rebounds.

How’s the team structured?

Josh Giddey

Giddey could be in for a fun season ahead, as the Thunder are expected to have some say in the ‘Tank Bowl’ for Victor Wembanyama, thus, Giddey could have the year ahead to experiment with his game.

Alongside Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Lu Dort, they make for a very compelling three-man game, all with strengths that hide each other’s weaknesses.

Chet Holmgren, pick two of the 2022 NBA Draft, won’t play this season as he recovers from a Lisfranc injury, meaning Giddey will play back-to-back seasons without a true centre to build rapport with.

Oklahoma is young and inexperienced, and Giddey is no exception, having only turned 20 on October 10 of 2022. Giddey is still finding his footing in the league, with areas of his game that still have plenty of room to improve upon.

Josh Green

It’s arguable that any of Green, Thybulle, or Landale are in the best situation right now, as all are on teams that are on the cusp of championship contention. Luka Doncic leads Josh Green’s team, the Dallas Mavericks, as the Australian enters his third year in the league.

Whilst not having the flashiest first two seasons, Green has cemented a spot in the rotation, with his athleticism and defence being the catalysts for his minutes. Green averaged 1.6 steals and 0.5 blocks per 36 minutes last season.

With Dallas pursuing a championship, it’ll be interesting to see how Green’s minutes develop over the season, especially if Dallas is still considered a contender.

Green only averaged 7.4 minutes in 16 playoff games last playoffs, yet Dallas is now without Jalen Brunson, opening up opportunities for the young guard.

Matisse Thybulle

Thybulle’s situation is quite unique, given that some of the help the 76ers have brought in this season will directly affect his role. De’Anthony Melton and Danuel House, amongst P.J. Tucker and Montrezl Harrell, were specifically brought in to help Philly with their shooting and defensive issues on the wing.

Thybulle, already a two-time All-Defensive team member, is (mostly) unquestionable on that end, yet it’s shooting that’s always been a red flag, 32.7 per cent from three is his career mark, whereas Melton and House are both ~36 per cent shooters.

It appears that the minutes these three may share may simply come down to form, or their match-up. Melton is arguably the best of the men when it comes to his ability at both ends of the floor combined, yet when the defence is looking lame, Thybulle may be the man to the rescue.

Jock Landale

Of the four men we’re discussing, Landale was the only one to have a change of scenery in this off-season. The former Spur was very briefly a Hawk after being sent with Dejounte Murray to Atlanta, and then quickly traded to Phoenix for cash.

Phoenix has had little roster turnover since last season, although Jae Crowder is set to move away from The Valley. His exit from the team has given Landale an opportunity at Phoenix, which is a team without much depth for big men.

Landale has the chance to succeed in Phoenix, given its core of Chris Paul, Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton took it to a finals run just two seasons ago. Given the western conference is arguably much weaker now, Landale will be part of a team with championship aspirations.

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How they could break out

Josh Giddey

Giddey’s current biggest flaw is his ability to score. He’s never been, or will likely never need to be the team’s number one option, however, his inefficiency is currently a detriment to the rest of his game.

In the 2021/22 season, Giddey’s shooting splits were rough. At just 42/26/71, it’s a far cry from where he could be.

Frankly, this likely won’t be the year Giddey fully appreciates in value. He’s on a pretty bad team and is going to have the opportunity to be inefficient this year without many repercussions.

It’s when OKC gets better – likely when Holmgren finally plays – that he won’t be able to play with the reckless abandon he could last season.

Additionally, he has room to improve on defence. He’ll never be a menace like Thybulle, yet standing at 6’8, he has quite the frame to build a strong base on. Hopefully, when Holmgren plays, Giddey can be less reliant on the defensive end, due to the former’s commandment in the paint.

Finally, a shout-out to this insane graphic from Giddey’s scouting report.

Josh Green

When the playoffs come around, and Luka Doncic is on the floor, you must be able to hit open shots. Green struggled with this in the playoffs just past, shooting just 5/22 (22.7 per cent) from three. That’s where he has to improve this year.

The reality is Green’s breakout isn’t like Giddey’s – their situations are incomparable, with team and role nothing like the others.

For Green, he has to be able to knock down his open shots and be a consistent two-way player when he’s on the court. He’s already a good cutter and passer, so adding shooting to his game is necessary.

Green’s had many interrupted pre-seasons, between surgeries and the Olympics, and has had an impressive training camp according to those in the Mavericks community. Hopefully, we see this contribution reflect in this NBA season.

Matisse Thybulle

Of all players, maybe even league-wide, Thybulle’s development is most necessary in one area – shooting. Since Thybulle was drafted, his three-point shooting has always been criticised, yet in his rookie year, he began to silence his critics, shooting 35.7 per cent with all signs pointing to him building upon this.

Frankly, it’s been downhill since. 30.1 per cent then 31.3 per cent in the last two seasons has frustrated fans and critics alike. There’s potential for Thybulle to be an elite ‘three and D’ wing, yet without the three, how much value does he have?

Realistically, Thybulle is a decent cutter, an alright passer, and a pretty bad ball-handler. Yet frankly, the only thing that matters right now is his ability to shoot the three at a decent clip.

Jock Landale

Landale is almost a bit of a wildcard, a jack of all trades, yet a master of none. He’s a three-point shooter with room to improve, a solid rebounder and defender, and can pass and score inside. So, what’s next?

Opportunity. Landale has talent at many facets of the game, yet hasn’t really had his chance to show what he can do with consistent minutes. Having only averaged 11 minutes at the Spurs, he should have an opportunity in Phoenix to be a consistent role player, given its lack of depth.

For Landale, playing with the ‘Point God’ Chris Paul will give him a great advantage to succeed by having a point guard who can tell him where and how to get to his spots, both as a spot-up shooter and roller.

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