Josh Giddey has realised his NBA dream, being selected by the Oklahoma City Thunder with pick six in the NBA draft.
He becomes the highest Australian NBA draftee since Ben Simmons was selected at pick one in 2016.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver called out Giddey’s name, with the Melbourne product – by way of the Adelaide 36ers – finding himself in Oklahoma City to start his NBA career. It was a higher pick than even the most optimistic pundits had predicted him to go at.
Giddey wowed a cohort of NBA scouts in Las Vegas two weeks ago in the Boomers’ exhibition match against Nigeria. In his 24 minutes he recorded 14 points and three assists for Australia off the bench.
The six-foot-nine (205 centimetre) point guard showcased a new-look jump-shot during the game, stroking threes from deep with a high release that was worked on after his season in the NBL.
He was the NBL21 Rookie of the Year for the 36ers, following in the footsteps of Next Star Lamelo Ball who backed up the award with NBA Rookie of the Year honours for the Charlotte Hornets.
Ball’s seamless transition into the NBA would have played a contributing factor for Giddey’s soaring draft stocks, with franchises emboldened with the professional pathways that some prospects are taking.
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Giddey averaged 10.66 points to go with 7.1 rebounds and 7.1 assists in under 31 minutes per game in the NBL this season.
His insane court vision and passing ability has him rated as one of the best distributors in the entire draft, with his capacity to see over defensive schemes with his height as a ball-handler working in his favour with the way the NBA has trended over recent years.
Josh Giddey may take some time to develop as he comes into the Association with a light frame and deficiencies on the defensive end. But there are so many above average traits that he possesses that will allow him to contribute on the offensive end straight away.
Just as Lamelo Ball averaged over six assists and improved his shooting, Giddey can be the facilitator of a second unit and could also stretch the floor with his improved range.
He was chosen as a reserve for the Boomers’ Tokyo 2020 campaign, and was invited to the NBA Draft green room prior to the night which was an indication that he would be taken in the NBA Lottery (first 14 selections).
Giddey will join superstar Shai Gigeous-Alexander in the backcourt, and is sure to play early minutes on the rebuilding Oklahoma City Thunder.
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