Josh Giddey came into NBL21 with more pressure on his shoulders at 18 years old than most players in the league.
Already touted as one of the country’s next basketball stars and following on from a golden generation which has seen Australians flourish in the NBA, the pressure was on Josh from the get-go to deliver and through a tumultuous season in the NBL, he did just that.
He has endeared himself to the 36ers faithful and they are certainly sad to see him go as he ramps up his preparation for the NBA draft.
His superior court vision and decision making has seen him turn heads in the city of churches and across the country, so much so that he has recently been declared the hottest international prospect in the upcoming draft in various mock drafts conducted by NBA experts.
So, just how good is Josh Giddey? Well, now that the 36ers have officially removed him from their playing roster, we decided to take a look at just what he has achieved during his time in the NBL.
How good is Josh Giddey by the numbers?
Giddey etched his name into the history books at the beginning of May when he recorded back to back triple doubles and became the first Australian to do so in the NBL. He finished the season with three in total, showcasing his ability to influence the game in all facets.
At the time of Giddey’s exit from the league, he sits inside the top 10 in rebounds (6th), steals (10th) and assists (1st). His three point shooting left a bit to be desired at 29 per cent but his field goal percentage was a serviceable 43 per cent.
To lead the league in assists at just 18 years of age is a phenomenal feat and much of this is down to his size. At six foot eight, Giddey is very much in the Ben Simmons mould of a tall point guard and while the strength and size may not be there yet, the court vision certainly is.
He was able to link up with fellow Australian Isaac Humphries on a number of occasions with the big man finishing inside the top 10 in field goal percentage across the league, many of those shots coming off of good looks created by Josh.
His height means that he is a problem for opposing teams on the defensive end, something that will only become be amplified as he gets bigger and more experienced. Giddey’s 1.14 steals per game is testament to his effort on the defensive side of the ball, as is his defensive rebounding which has a number of scouts from the US licking their lips. Giddey was the highest rebounding guard in the league in 2021.
Though his shooting percentages aren’t incredible, he is not afraid of letting fly, average over three attempts from downtown per game and typically hitting one of those. He has shown on numerous occasions that he is not afraid to take the ball to the hoop and can finish inside over taller opponents, with a lot of this confidence down to the length and speed he possesses.
How good is Josh Giddey according to his ball club?
Giddey quickly became a favourite amongst the group in Adelaide because of one of his greatest talents – his ability to get his teammates good looks.
He formed a particularly strong partnership with big man Isaac Humphries which saw the pair propelled into the Australian Olympic squad earlier this year.
It wasn’t just his teammates that enjoyed having the teenager around, though, as the Sixers front office paid tribute to Josh upon his departure from the squad.
“Josh has been a credit to himself, his family, and the Adelaide 36ers,” said Adelaide 36ers Chairman, Grant Kelley.
“We are proud for the part we have played over the past 12 months in developing Josh as a player and a young leader.
“By this decision today, we are supporting Josh in his quest to become an NBA player, by maximising his potential in the draft. We wish him every success.”
Adelaide GM of Basketball, Jeff Van Groningen, echoed the sentiment of Kelley and stated that Giddey will always be a part of Adelaide’s basketball family.
“He’s given everything he can to the 36ers,” he said.
“He’s taken on each and every challenge here and will always be part of the 36ers family,
“At this point though, we want to allow Josh to singularly focus on preparations for the NBA draft.
“We are with him, we are behind him and we thank him.”
How good is Josh Giddey? – The intangibles
From day one, Giddey was in the spotlight and the basketball world knew that his stay in Adelaide would be short.
Despite this, he played hard until Adelaide’s hopes of a playoff berth were slim to none and his commitment to getting the win for his ball club never came into question.
With an NBA draft looming where outside of the top few picks, there is so much room for movement, Giddey would likely have been forgiven for trying to boost his own stock at the expense of his team. Instead, he balled out and made a point of making sure he did everything in his power to get Adelaide the win.
In a post match interview after becoming the first Australian to record two consecutive NBL triple-doubles, Giddey showed just how mature he is at such a young age.
“It’s cool to have them stats but if they’re not resulting in wins then…,” he said.
“I’d rather have zero points and win than a triple-double and lose. I give a lot of credit to my teammates because they make me look better by hitting shots.”
Sixers teammate Isaac Humphries spoke to Giddey’s positivity and determination earlier in the year as Josh stood tall in a close game for the Sixers.
“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.
“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.”
Clearly, this kid has something special and with a mixture of skill with the ball, hustle off of it and the height of a forward, there is no reason why he can’t enter the NBA as a lottery pick in the draft.
His decision to play against men in a league as tough as the NBL has paid dividends but now, it is up to the NBA scouts to answer the question – How good is Josh Giddey? This will determine where Josh’s next stop is in what is hopefully a long and prosperous career.
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