Josh Giddey’s scoring surge is making waves in the US media.
The Australian continued his hot form with a 20-point performance in the OKC Thunder’s win over the Washington Wizards on Saturday (all-time AEDT), making it the fifth game in his last seven in which he has scored 20 or more points.
Prior to this current streak, he had just three 20+ point games this season.
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Monday, January 9
Monday, January 9
It’s been fueled by Giddey’s improved shooting from downtown — where he’s now shooting 34.9 percent on the season — including 45.8 percent (1.5-of-3.4) over his last seven games.
34.9 percent is more than Jayson Tatum, LeBron James, Jaylen Brown, Pascal Siakam, Kristaps Porzingis, Jalen Green, Terry Rozier, Jordan Poole, Fred VanVleet and OG Anunoby this season.
His three-point shooting was a big focus moving into his sophomore campaign after shooting 26.3 percent from beyond the arc as a rookie and working closely with renowned NBA shooting coach Chip Engelland in the offseason.
As a Thunder beat writer Clemente Almanza emphasizedGiddey is shooting 45.1 percent from three on 3.4 attempts in 15 games since the Dec. 1 quote.
“Good things don’t happen overnight.” These things take time, and usually when you’re changing something you’ve done for years and years, there’s going to be a few steps back before there are steps forward,” Giddey told the media at the time.
“So I trust Chip. He is the best in the business at what he does. Confidence is unwavering, you know – being selective, taking the right shots – but whether they’re this year, next year or whatever, just trust what he’s got in place because he’s been doing it for so long. His record speaks for itself.”
Giddey said after the win over Washington that “it’s good to see the improvement” in his 3-point shooting, but that he’s “still a long way from where I want to be.”
It’s important to note that while Giddey hasn’t officially arrived as a 3-point shooter yet, he’s making strides and is much improved from his rookie season.
Extrapolate that trend to the rest of the 20-year-old’s career — which is only 88 contests — and he has scary potential considering how well-rounded the rest of his game is.
His recent hyper-efficiency of 45.1 percent three-point shooting will likely see some regression as well, but looking at the bigger picture, Giddey’s ability to continue to hone his craft will be critical to his long-term prospects.
Forbes’ Nick Crain further dug into exactly where Giddey has found ways to improve his outside shot.
“Only 20.3 percent of his points are coming from deep, one of the lowest on the team, and his three-point range is just 22.1 percent this season. That’s down from 31.8 percent last season, meaning he’s letting the shots come to him,” Crain’s wrote on forbes.com earlier this week.
“To quantify that further, 93.9 percent of his three-pointers this season have been assisted, so he’s really picking his spots and shooting in rhythm rather than forced looks.”
“Giddey is shooting 40 percent from unguarded catch-and-shoot looks, which leads to overall optimism about the mechanics. Even when guarded more tightly, he converts 36.7 percent of his catch-and-shoot attempts. Simply put, Giddey makes good 3-point shots and allows others to set him up for success. He shoots 38.8 percent on 3-pointers off the dribble.”
However, Crain pointed out that Giddey still has room to grow as a creator on the perimeter — he’s currently shooting 23.5 percent on three-pointers off the bounce and 22.2 percent from deep as a pick-and-roll ball handler.
Hyland’s rather hilarious reaction | 00:42
“Regardless, Giddey is generating 1.098 points per possession on his three-point attempts and is much improved from last season.” While he likely won’t continue the efficiency we’ve seen since early December, it bodes well for his long-term outlook,” Crain added.
“If Giddey can maintain the 34 percent mark he’s currently at for the rest of the season, he’ll be an off-the-charts asset as an offensive prospect.”
Giddey has also improved as a free throw shooter in a sign of a long-term uptick with his outside shot, at 90.9 percent since the start of December.
Again, this number will likely bounce back, but it’s all about flashes and promising signs for the future.
Shooting aside, Giddey does a better job of being aggressive and attacking the rim – and that’s how he gets better shots.
After all, he’s a 6-foot-8 guard, so it makes sense to put more emphasis on getting into the paint.
“He does a much better job of using his body to get all the way downhill to attack the defense and the goal to protect himself and help finish at the rim,” Locked On Thunder’s Rylan Stiles noted.
Basketballnews.com Nekias Duncan detailed that Giddey’s drives per game are actually down (11.3) compared to his rookie season (11.9). But he’s attacking the rim with more intent, attempting 5.6 shots from the rim this season compared to 4.6 last campaign.
Additionally, he surrendered 49.7 percent of his runs last season, up from 38.5 percent this campaign.
“First, the grip is a bit tighter – although you wouldn’t mistake it for the A-1 legend anyway.” Early nail help doesn’t break him as easily as it did last season, allowing some of those early kicks or strips to turn into deeper moves,” Duncan wrote.
“Also, the added power—and the way he channels that power—led to more prolific attacks. Although Giddey is a tall ball handler, he almost always tries to get the lower ground on his defender. If he’s able to get a hint of leverage, he often uses his arm to create space inside … Giddey tries to win in the lane.”
Giddey even talked about this shift in his game after the win over the Wizards.
“At first, I had trouble adjusting to how teams adjust (to guard me),” he admitted.
“I was focusing on getting off the hill and on the front of the rim and using my size a little bit more.
“I used to shoot a lot of floaters, but now I’m just trying to get off the mound to the rim … I’m trying to make the right reads, be physical and get into (opponents’) bodies. I try to draw fouls, it’s something I need to improve on.
“I’m just trying to make the right reads — whether it’s going downhill, taking the right shots or making the right pass — we’re doing what the team needs.
It means Giddey’s assists have dropped from 6.4 per game as a rookie to 5.4 this season, but he’s become a more effective player overall to improve the team’s offense.
Along with 5.4 assists, Giddey is now averaging 15.4 points per game (47 percent shooting from the field and 78 percent from the line), 1.1 triples and 7.9 rebounds in 30.8 minutes on the season — down from 31 .5 minutes in the last campaign. .
Giddey’s teammates and coach Mark Daigneault also had plenty of praise for him, including Jalen Williams, for making the Aussie look more comfortable on the court.
“He’s a really good 3-pointer as well – not to confuse him.” He looks a lot more comfortable in our rotations and I think we finally figured out where everybody is going to be,” Williams said, according to Almanza.
Daigneault said Giddey is “polishing his game” and “has a nice mix with him right now.”
Meanwhile, superstar Shai Gilgeous-Alexander said Josh is “fun to play with” because of his ability to consistently find open teammates and make the right play.
Despite all the promising signs, The Athletic’s John Hollinger wants to see more from Giddey.
Hollinger acknowledged his improved shooting numbers and elite rebounding and passing, but noted that the youngster still struggles with fouls (averaging 1.5 free-throw attempts per game) — as Giddey himself talked about — and has a ways to go defensively .
“Giddey remains limited in that he doesn’t draw fouls and nobody fears his shot — at least not yet — and he still doesn’t bring much to the table defensively. Giddey also needs ball dominance to be effective, which isn’t always great when he pushes Shai Gilgeous-Alexander off the ball,” Hollinger wrote. theathletic.com.
“He’s already a good player and he’s 20, so let’s not be too pessimistic. But as with the rest of this class, there was no escape with a capital B.”
There’s clearly room for growth and elements to iron out in Giddey’s game, but the former Pick 6 is still one of the most promising players in the league.
Perhaps most importantly, you constantly hear genuine drive and motivation as he talks about his efforts to constantly improve and become a true star.
Development is key here, and people in the US are taking notice of this progress.
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