Giddey up for the NBA
Adelaide 36ers prodigy Josh Giddey has ended his NBL season early to focus on being picked up in the NBA draft.
The Next Gen star will sit out the final two rounds of the Australian domestic campaign, as he targets a move to the best league in the world next season.
The 18-year-old had made waves in his debut NBL season, following the lead of players like LaMelo Ball and RJ Hampton who both impressed at the Illawarra Hawks and New Zealand Breakers respectively.
Ball and Hampton were drafted at pick no. 3 and no. 24 in the 2020 NBA Draft.
Giddey, originally from Melbourne, has been touted to be picked up in the first round of the NBA draft.
NBL Commissioner Jeremy Loeliger said he understood Giddey's decision after a busy rookie season:
“Josh, the club (36ers) and the NBL have made the collective decision that it's in his best interests to finish his season now and start preparing for the NBA draft.
"His workload in his rookie season has been immense and given how quickly the NBA draft is approaching, we are all supportive of Josh taking the opportunity to refresh and prepare for the workouts ahead.
"At just 18, he has demonstrated that he is an incredible talent and it's not surprising that most experts are predicting he will be a first-round draft pick.
"He became the youngest Australian to record a triple double in the NBL and has impressed everyone with his maturity on and off the court."
A gifted passer and versatile defender, Giddey views himself as a similar package to NBA All-Star Ben Simmons, who he could play alongside for the Boomers at the Tokyo Olympics later this year.
Giddey averaged 10.9 points, 7.3 rebounds and a league-best 7.6 assists per game, undoubtedly making himself the favourite to be named the NBL Rookie of the Year.
"I'm just very, very thankful to Jeff, Grant, (head coach) Conner Henry, (assistant coach) Jamie Pearlman, my teammates, and everyone in the 36ers organisation for allowing me to come in as an 18-year-old and play the sort of role I did on our team.
"I could never repay the club for what they've done for me and, without them, I wouldn't be where I'm at today, so I give all of the credit to Adelaide for putting me in this position and allowing me to be successful.”
In a statement on Monday, the Adelaide 36ers said Giddey had strongly impressed by demonstrating poise, skill-set and basketball IQ rarely seen in a player of his age.
Adelaide 36ers Chairman Grant Kelley said:
"Josh has been a credit to himself, his family, and the Adelaide 36ers. We are proud for the part we have played over the past 12 months in developing Josh as a player and a young leader. By this decision today, we are supporting Josh in his quest to become an NBA player, by maximising his potential in the draft. We wish him every success."
36ers' GM of Basketball Jeff Van Groningen added:
“Josh has had an incredible rookie season throughout which he’s demonstrated the attributes that will propel him onto the NBA stage. He’s given everything he can to the 36ers, he’s taken on each and every challenge here and will always be part of the 36ers family. At this point though, we want to allow Josh to singularly focus on preparations for the NBA draft. We are with him, we are behind him and we thank him”.
Though not part of the active playing roster for the Adelaide 36ers remaining five games starting on Friday night hosting the Illawara Hawks, Giddey will join his teammates as the club looks to finish the season as strongly as possible.
Friday evening’s game provides a chance for 36ers fans and members to acknowledge Giddey’s contribution.