OKC Thunder Rookie Josh Giddey Continues To Exceed Expectations

okc-thunder-rookie-josh-giddey-continues-to-exceed-expectations

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 04: Josh Giddey #3 of the Oklahoma City Thunder makes a play on … [+] the rebound in front of Kent Bazemore #9 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half at Staples Center on November 04, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Getty Images

Although the lottery odds didn’t turn out in their favor, the Oklahoma City Thunder still had an excellent 2021 NBA Draft. The headliner of their draft night was 19-year-old Australian guard Josh Giddey, who was selected by Oklahoma City sixth overall. 

Standing at 6-foot-9, adding Giddey to the roster instantly created a jumbo backcourt duo with him and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. With the potential to become the best facilitator in his class, Giddey is a winner that impacts the game on so many levels. 

After missing nearly all of NBA Summer League with an ankle injury, Giddey was one of the most mysterious rookies entering the 2021-22 season. However, it didn’t take long before he emerged as a superstar among his peers. 

“He’s going to be a great player for us this season and in the future. For him, this is just the beginning,” said his teammate Aleksej Pokusevski at the start of the season.

Giddey was slotted into the starting lineup immediately for the Thunder after an impressive training camp. Despite having a larger role than nearly every rookie around the league, he’s shined bright and risen to the occasion. 

On the season, Giddey is averaging 10.8 points, 7.3 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 1.0 steal in 29.6 minutes per game. When looking at his numbers relative to other rookies around the league, he’s clearly been worth the sixth overall pick.

  • Assists: 1st
  • Rebounds: 3rd
  • Steals: 5th
  • Minutes: 7th
  • Points: 8th

Giddey’s assist numbers are off the charts for his age, as he ranks 20th in the entire NBA in assists per game.

Additionally, he ranks seventh in rebounds per game among all guards in the league. The jumbo guard has notched 12 boards twice this season already, proving to be a legitimate rebounder at this level.

In fact, he recently became only the third teenager in NBA History to record 100 total rebounds and 100 total assists in his first 20 career games, joining LaMelo Ball and LeBron James. 

The one knock on Giddey’s game has been the 3-point shooting. He’s converted on just 28.6% of his 3.5 attempts from beyond the arc per game. The 19-year-old has been able to combat the struggles from deep by attacking the rim and scoring near the bucket. Giddey’s 6.3 points in the paint per contest is fourth among all rookies.

While his scoring has been up and down all season, Giddey has produced 15 or more points in six of the 18 games he’s played in thus far, including two games with 19 points.

Giddey is the second-youngest player in the NBA, but processes the game faster than many veterans. With a high basketball IQ and a jumpstart in experience after playing in the NBL last season, the NBA game comes natural to him. 

“Australia is a physical league,” said Giddey earlier this season. “That’s one of the reasons I chose the NBL over college, to play against grown men, which for me was better than playing against other kids in college. It’s one of the best leagues in the world.”

Giddey’s assist to turnover ratio (2.02) is fourth among NBA rookies, which is especially impressive considering his role and how much the ball is in his hands.

Whether it’s the first quarter or the final minute of a close game, Giddey is always poised and level-headed. 

“It’s not really something you can teach. I’ve been that way from a young age. I love the big moments,” said Giddey about his ability to stay calm at all times throughout a game.

Over the past week, Giddey was tasked with being the primary facilitator of the Thunder offense while Gilgeous-Alexander was sidelined with an ankle injury. Even against some of the top teams in the league, the Australian guard looked better than ever. 

In two games without Gilgeous-Alexander alongside him, Giddey averaged 17.0 points, 8.0 assists and 7.0 rebounds per contest. While defenses put an extra emphasis on him in these matchups, he still shot 50% from the floor, 33.3% from deep and 100% from the free throw line.  

Playing beyond his years, the stage never seems too big for the 19-year-old rookie. 

“Just his IQ of the game at his age is very rare,” said his teammate Kenrich Williams a few games into the season.

It’s still very early in his career, but 18 games in it appears the Thunder found another perfect piece for their rebuild in Josh Giddey.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

the-diverse-chorus:-uk-music-assesses-progress-in-its-10-point-diversity-plan

The Diverse Chorus: UK Music Assesses Progress In Its 10-Point Diversity Plan

ai-that-tries-to-be-funny-is-not-necessarily-a-laughing-matter,-especially-when-used-by-self-driving-cars

AI That Tries To Be Funny Is Not Necessarily A Laughing Matter, Especially When Used By Self-Driving Cars