The Australian NBL produced a lottery selection for the second consecutive year. Last year, it was LaMelo Ball, the top-ranked prospect on the 2020 HP Draft Board, and this year, it is Josh Giddey, the seventh-ranked prospect on the 2021 HP Draft Board. Both are point guards with great size, and both produced very impressive numbers. Ball was more adept at scoring at roughly the same age, but the rest of his NBL numbers are very comparable to Giddey’s.
With the sixth overall pick, most expected the Thunder to select Jonathan Kuminga, especially given the team’s existing talent at guard. However, it’s easy to justify the selection of Giddey over Kuminga based on the two players’ first season as a pro. Additionally, Oklahoma City has since bought out Kemba Walker’s contract, making the former All-Star a free agent, and freeing up significant minutes for both Giddey and Theo Maledon.
|Position:||Point Guard||Team/Class:||Adelaide (Australian NBL)|
|Shot Hand:||Right||Stats:||Click here|
The 18-year-old Giddey stands at 6-foot-8. He’s a bit on the lanky side at 205 pounds, and he is not an exceptional athlete, with speed probably being his best attribute. What he lacks in athleticism is balanced out by a very high basketball IQ, skill, and other intangibles. The youngster played big minutes (32.1 per game) for the Adelaide Sixers this season, and averaged 10.8 points, 7.4 assists, and 7.4 rebounds per game. His shooting splits (.425/.293/.691) were far from ideal, but the same could be said last season of Ball.
Giddey is truly a pass-first point. He plays very much under control, has great vision and feel, and rarely makes poor passes. He has a laid-back demeanor and is cool under pressure. His strength is his ability to manipulate defenses and to make difficult and creative passes with touch and accuracy. He can make crisp passes with either hand while on the move, but he does favor his right hand too much.
Giddey’s shooting consistency is still a work in progress, and defenders tend to go “under” on ball screens. He has a bit of a hitch/pause in his shooting motion, which slows his release, and he doesn’t get much lift off the ground. He especially struggles off the catch. His handle is very good, but not spectacular, and it can be loose at times. The Aussie isn’t particularly shifty, and though he is a very good finisher around the rim, he tends to settle for midrange jumpers instead of attacking the basket.
Giddey’s cool/under-control approach is not necessarily a positive on the defensive end. It’s not that he’s disengaged, but his look gives that perception. I’d like to see him play with more aggression and energy on the defensive end — too often, his hands are down, his stance is upright, and his feet are flat. He also tends to give shooters too much space. The one positive of being a passive defender is that he doesn’t pick up many fouls (1.5 per game).
- Fantastic size for a point guard; averaged 7.4 rebounds per game
- High IQ, great feel for the game, and an excellent passer; averaged 7.4 assists per game, with an A/T ratio of 2.25, and ranked at the 90th percentile for points and assist per possession among international players
- Capable with runners/floaters, and can finish at the rim with ease with either hand; ranked at the 75th percentile for PPP around the basket in half court
- Has potential as a isolation scorer; ranked at the 77th percentile for PPP in isolation this season
- Can be effective off the ball; ranked at the 99th percentile for PPP as a cutter
- Potential upside due to young age
- Proven that he can be productive at a high professional level
- A passive defender with poor technique and a negative net wingspan (-1)
- Reluctant to attack the rim, and doesn’t get to the FT line often (2.4 FTA per game)
- Shooting mechanics need adjustment; ranked at the 32nd percentile for PPP on half-court jumpers
- Handle can be loose and is turnover prone; averaged 3.3 turnovers per game, and had a turnover rate of 22.6 percent per possession
- Lack of athleticism and turnovers limit his fast-break effectiveness; ranked at the 9th percentile for PPP in transition, with a turnover percentage of 26.3
Sources, Credits, and Acknowledgements
Stats used in our scouting reports come from Synergy Sports Technology, RealGM.com, and Sports-Reference.com. Other outside sources are noted with links to the source. Click here to see the statistical abbreviation key.