Josh Giddey’s scoring spree is causing a sensation in the US media.
The Aussie continued his great form with a 20-point performance in the OKC Thunder’s win over the Washington Wizards on Saturday (all-time AEDT), marking the fifth game of his last seven in which he’s scored 20 or more points.
Prior to this current run, he had only had three games this season with 20+ points.
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It’s been bolstered by Giddey’s improved hitting from downtown, where he’s now shooting 34.9 percent on the season, including 45.8 percent (1.5-for-3.4) of his last few. seven contests.
At 34.9 percent, he is higher 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 3-point shooting was a big focus in 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. , during the low season.
As Thunder Beat writer Clemente Almanza highlightedGiddey is shooting 45.1 percent from 3-for-3.4 shooting in 15 games since next meeting on Dec. 1.
“Good things don’t happen overnight. These things take time, and usually when you change something that you’ve done for years and years, there will 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 unshakable, you know: be selective, make the right shots, but whether it’s this year or next or whatever, just trust what he’s got in place because he’s done it for so long. His track record speaks for itself.”
Speaking after the win over Washington, Giddey said “it’s good to see improvements” in his 3-point shooting, but “it’s still a long way from where I want to be.”
It’s important to note that even if Giddey hasn’t officially arrived as a 3-point shooter yet, he is making progress and has improved significantly since his rookie season.
If you extrapolate that trend to the rest of the 20-year-old’s career, which has just 88 contests, he has terrifying potential considering how complete the rest of his game is.
His recent 45.1 percent hyper-efficiency on 3-point shooting is likely to see some regression as well, but looking at the big picture, Giddey’s ability to continue honing his craft will be critical to his long-term prospects.
Forbes’ Nick Crain further investigated exactly where Giddey has found ways to improve his outside shooting.
“Only 20.3 percent of his points are coming from deep, which is one of the lowest on the team, and his 3-point frequency is only 22.1 percent this season. This is down from 31.8 percent last season, which means he’s letting the shots come to him,” Crain wrote in forbes.com earlier this week.
“To further quantify this, 93.9 percent of his 3-pointers made this season have been assisted, so he’s really picking his spots and taking shots with pace instead of forcing looks.
“Giddey is shooting 40 percent from deep on unguarded catch-and-shoot looks, leading to optimism about mechanics overall. Even when he’s most defended, he’s converting on 36.7 percent of his catch-and-shoot attempts. Simply put, Giddey is taking good 3-point shots and allowing others to set him up for success. He’s shooting 38.8 percent on 3-pointers that he doesn’t dribble on.”
However, Crain noted that Giddey still has room to grow as a self-creator on the perimeter: He currently shoots 23.5 percent on 3-pointers from the dribble and 22.2 percent from deep as a ball handler. pick-and-roll.
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“Regardless, Giddey is generating 1,098 points per possession on his 3-point attempts and is much improved this season from last. While he likely won’t continue the efficiency we’ve seen since early December, it holds promise for his long-term outlook,” Crain added.
“If Giddey can hold the 34 percent mark he’s currently at for the rest of the season, the advantage as an offensive prospect is going to be off the charts.”
Giddey has also improved as a free-throw shooter in a sign of long-term improvement with his outside hitting, shooting 90.9 percent since early December.
Again, this number is likely to roll back, but these are glimmers and promising signs for the future.
Shooting aside, Giddey is doing a better job of being aggressive and attacking the rim, and therefore making better shots.
He is a 6-foot-8 guard, after all, so it makes sense that he would put more emphasis on getting into the paint.
“He’s doing a much better job of using his body to get downhill, to attack the defense and attack the goal as a way of protecting himself and helping himself finish at the rim,” Locked On Thunder’s Rylan Stiles noted.
basketballnews.com’s Nekias Duncan Detailed Giddey’s units per game are actually down (11.3) compared to his rookie season (11.9). But he’s attacking the rim with more purpose, attempting 5.6 shots from drives this season compared to 4.6 last season.
Additionally, he passed 49.7 percent of his drives last season, which is down to 38.5 percent this season.
“First, the handle is a bit tighter, though you still wouldn’t mistake it for an And-1 legend. Early nail help doesn’t frustrate him as easily as he did last season, which has allowed some of those early kicks or strips to turn into deeper drives,” Duncan wrote.
“Beyond that, the added force, and the way it channels that force, has led to more fruitful attacks. Although Giddey handles the ball high, he almost always tries to gain ground on his defender. If he’s able to get a little leverage, he often uses his shoulder to create space on the inside… Giddey is trying to win on drives.”
Giddey even spoke about this change in his game after the win over the Wizards.
“I struggled a bit at the beginning to adjust to the way teams are adjusting (to marking me),” he admitted.
“Just emphasizing going downhill and in front of the rim and using my size a little bit more.
“I used to shoot a lot of floaters, but now I try to go all the way down to the rim… trying to get the right read, be physical and get into (opponents) bodies. I’m trying to commit fouls, it’s something I have to improve on.
“I’m just trying to get the right read, whether it’s going down, taking the right shots or making the right pass, doing what the team needs to do.”
It means Giddey’s assist numbers are down from 6.4 per game as a rookie to 5.4 this season, but he’s become a more efficient player overall to improve the team’s offense.
In addition to 5.4 assists, Giddey is now averaging 15.4 points per game (47% shooting from the field and 78% from the line), 1.1 3-pointers and 7.9 rebounds on the season in 30.8 minutes, below 31.5 minutes last season. .
Giddey’s teammates and manager Mark Daigneault have also had plenty of praise for him, including Jalen Williams, who noted that the Australian looks more comfortable on the pitch.
“He’s also shooting really well from 3-point range, not to cuss him out. He just looks a lot more comfortable in our rotations and I think we have finally figured out where everyone is going to be,” Williams said, according to Almanza.
Daigneault said Giddey was “softening up his game” and “has a good combination with him at the moment.”
Meanwhile, superstar Shai Gilgeous-Alexander said Josh is “fun to play with” because of his ability to constantly find open teammates and make the right play.
Despite all the promising signs, The Athletic’s John Hollinger wants to see more of Giddey.
While acknowledging his improved shooting numbers and elite rebounding and passing, Hollinger noted that the youngster still struggles to commit fouls (averaging 1.5 free throw attempts per game), as Giddey himself put it, and has a ways to go in the defensive end.
“Giddey is still limited by the fact that he doesn’t foul and no one is afraid of his shot, at least not yet, and he still doesn’t bring much to the table defensively. Giddey also needs to command the ball to be effective, which he’s not always great for when he pushes Shai Gilgeous-Alexander off the ball,” Hollinger wrote in athletics.com.
“He is already a good player and he is 20 years old, so let’s not be too pessimistic. But as with the rest of this class, there hasn’t been a breakout of a capital B.”
Clearly, there is room in Giddey’s game to grow and elements that need to be worked out, but the former Pick 6 remains one of the most promising players in the league.
Perhaps most importantly, you always hear genuine drive and motivation when he talks about his efforts to continually improve and become a genuine star.
Development is the key here, and people in the US are taking notice of that progress.