Australia’s own Josh Giddey has been selected by Oklahoma City Thunder with Pick No. 6 in the 2021 NBA Draft earlier today.
Giddey becomes the first player to ever be drafted out of the NBA Academies system around the world and the first from Basketball Australia’s NBA Global Academy (GA) program held at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) in Canberra.
Training under NBA experienced coach Marty Clarke, Giddey has further developed his skills via the national system, joining the NBA GA program in September of 2018 for 18-months before training at the Centre of Excellence until the Adelaide 36ers granted him the opportunity to play in the NBL for the 2020/21 season.
Clarke was initially impressed with Giddey’s confidence in his own game, leadership on the court and ability to influence a winning score, a flair that you couldn’t scientifically test.
“He came in with some natural talents, passing stood out the most and he was able to refine other areas of the game. Working on his shooting, individual defence and the ability to play on the best players in the country really accelerated his development.” Clarke said.
“Combined with the ability to travel and compete both within Australia and overseas, Josh went to several events including Basketball without Borders, the NBA Junior League Showcase and the Under 18 Tournament in Barcelona where he was awarded MVP, those were the first opportunities to test himself against true international competition.”
He’s a quick learner, gathers the most out of his opportunities and his ability to process information is elite.”
At just 18 years old, Josh has already found himself making an impact at the top tier league. The Adelaide 36ers recently named him a dual MVP winner after his first and only season playing in the NBL where after only 27 games he averaged 11 points, seven rebounds and close to eight assists.
After being released from his Adelaide playing contract to pursue the NBA draft, he found himself named on the Australian Boomers extended Olympic squad, playing and learning from the likes of Patty Mills, Joe Ingles and Coach Brian Goorjian.
Over the past few years, Ingles’ friendship with Giddey has developed into almost a mentor role, although he claims with a laugh that Josh is probably smart enough.
“He’s going to have a massive future, we’re all really excited for him. To have him around our group was really cool, he was the one who elected to come with us for the next part in Vegas to keep playing, training and being around the group, which is pretty special. He’s obviously got a lot going on right now and he wanted to stay with us, stay with the team.” Ingles said.
Brian Goorjian is excited about not only Josh’s NBA prospects but the future of his place with the Boomers.
“It was really great while he was with us. Getting a taste of playing with these guys, and the culture of the Boomers is going to be huge. It saves four years, he touched these guys and was a part of this. When those guys (Mills, Ingles, Dellevadova, Baynes) go, him, Matisse, Green, those guys are very important.” Goorjian said.
“When we were in Vegas, he played the Nigeria game and played very well, I think his time with the Boomers certainly wasn’t a negative for his draft status, I think his appeal would’ve gone forward in his time with the Boomers, it was a good marriage both ways.”
Meanwhile, Josh’s family have been with him every step of the way. From junior championships representing the green and gold to now, his father Warrick and mother Kim, by his side in Brooklyn, New York for the biggest moment of his life.
“It’s been a surreal last few days, we’ve been so excited and nervous about the draft as we waited and hoped in anticipation. We had a dinner last night with Josh’s agents and the family and that’s when it hit home that this is the real deal.” Warrick Giddey said.
Josh will now relocate to Oklahoma to join his new teammates as his journey in the NBA begins.