Joshua Giddey was born in Melbourne, Australia on the 10th of October 2002. He is the son of former NBL veteran Warrick Giddey. Giddey played for the Melbourne Tigers as a junior player. He was accepted into the Basketball Centre of Excellence at the start of 2019 and made his first appearance at the national level playing for Victoria Metro in the Under-18 Australian Junior Championships. This tournament really put Giddey on the map as a legitimate prospect as he led his team to win the tournament.
Later in 2019, Giddey went on to stand out at multiple tournaments including the NBA Academy Games, NCAA College Basketball Academy, and the U17 FIBA Oceanic Championships. From there, Giddey picked up many college offers, drawing some serious high-major interest.
In February 2020, Josh Giddey became the youngest player to make their debut for the Australian men’s national team since Ben Simmons. He played 11 minutes and recorded 11 points, 6 assists and 3 rebounds as Australia beat Hong Kong 115-52.
Giddey decided to forgo the college option as he signed with the Adelaide 36ers in the NBL as part of their Next Stars program. He will be eligible to declare for the 2021 NBA Draft as an early entrant. He currently comes in at number 8 on our ID Prospects rankings for the 2002 generation.
Giddey was listed as 6’ 8″ in shoes, 6’ 7″ without shoes by the NBA Global Academy last year at the Academy Games. His wingspan was listed as 6’7.5 and weight was 188 lbs. These measurements are from over a year ago which raises the possibility that he may have grown since then. Usually he plays as a guard which makes his height a big factor against smaller guards. He doesn’t blow you away physically with run and jump athleticism and has limited burst and strength. Strength isn’t usually a big concern at a young age, unless a prospect has obvious issues adding weight.
In the 36ers’ preseason press conference it was said that Giddey had added 10kg (22 lbs) since he last played bringing him up to 214 lbs. This is a significant gain and should be rather noticeable when NBL play begins. If he truly has added 10kg it would be a great testament to his work ethic and provides a lot of hope going forward.
Giddey has some shades of non-traditional athleticism. His body control is very impressive as he is able to contort his body while hanging in the air for a long time. He has rather quick and nimble feet. This is seen with shifty movement as well as the ability to change speeds and directions quickly when handling the ball.
I don’t think Giddey is very flexible, especially in his hips. This is apparent when he is shooting jumpshots as he often has valgus knees. Giddey also shows a lack of flexibility when driving the ball as he rarely gets low to the ground and is very upright. Defensively he could improve his defensive stance and get deeper which would allow him to cover more ground laterally. Increasing mobility in his joints should be a priority not just because of the physical improvements but also as it helps to prevent injuries. There is definitely some untapped athletic potential which could be seen with improved technique as a result of added strength and increased flexibility.
The biggest appeal of Giddey as a prospect is his ability to handle and the pass the ball at his size. The vision he possesses at 6’ 7″ is very impressive. He has a variety of passes in his arsenal and they’re usually all effective. After grabbing a defensive rebound he likes to push the ball ahead and throws accurate outlet passes. When the defending team is running a full court press he often passes over the top. His height lets him easily see over the top of the defense.
Giddey’s ability to push the ball ahead and play at an up-pace tempo is shown in the clip below:
In the half court Giddey is at his best operating in pick and roll situations. For a young player he shows a great deal of patience. Routinely he is able to get his man on his back and seal him out of the play to make it a 2 on 1. Against a hedge or trap, he is really good at pivoting and slinging one handed wrap around passes to his big man.
If there is any breakdown in the defense, you can expect Giddey to find the open man. His vision and passing ability are top tier. He loves to sling one handed passes at any angle to find shooters. The speed he generates on some passes is truly elite. Giddey is often ambitious with passes while staying under control and not turning the ball over very often. Tight windows aren’t a problem, he will squeeze the ball through somehow. Giddey can also deceive defenses with look away passes.
Off the ball, Giddey can be used as a great ball mover. When there is an open man, he will find them or pass to a teammate who can hit them. His IQ is off the charts when it comes to passing the ball. This will increase his value as an off ball player where he can pick apart defenses that are already moving. While Giddey is a decent shooter he recognises there are better options on his team and as a result he makes extra passes to teammates.
Burst is often associated with great ballhandlers. Giddey doesn’t possess this elite burst but can still be effective without it. He does a great job of controlling his speed and slowly breaking down his man to get where he wants. His change of pace and shifty dribbling is promising as he is still able to get to the rim. The lack of burst holds him back from being a more effective ball handler and restricts him to more of a second or third option.
When handling the ball the defender can slide their feet and deny him drives. While this is problematic as he is unable to create he usually passes out very well. If any defenders suck in, he can find the open man even after being denied. The footwork that Giddey shows to create space before flinging a pass is impressive.
When attacking the rim Giddey almost always senses where the help is coming from and understands that he has an open teammate. From here he likes to drop the ball off to his big man when he gets to the rim. Putting pressure on the rim ends up in a ton of easy looks for his teammates. Sometimes he has an issue with overpassing especially at the rim. This is probably going to be a bigger problem at higher levels as defenders are more disciplined when jumping and can get back off the ground quicker to contest shots.
He likes to get flashy with both his handle and passing the ball. It usually comes when he’s feeling himself and playing well. You will often see him pull off behind the back and no look passes. These passes don’t really provide a lot of value but they’re fun to watch and show his creativity, confidence and flair as a passer.
Giddey is occasionally prone to simple ball handling errors. These errors are usually just a misplaced handle when trying to cross the ball over. I think the problem is that he is too upright when performing dribble moves. If he manages to get lower not only will he be able to protect the ball more but he will become more explosive.
Giddey is still developing as a shooter. The development of his shot over the past year has been promising. Shooting off the catch is more comfortable for him at the moment as he gets time to get his feet set. He very rarely shoots off the dribble from three or mid-range.
When shooting jumpshots his knees often turn inwards and he ends up with knee valgus. I blame this mainly on a lack of lower body strength. Another indicator of a lack of lower body strength is leg flare which Giddey does from time to time. The form isn’t the prettiest and could use some tweaking. The main problem I have with his jumpshot is that he seems to pause once the ball is above his head while he waits for his legs to kick in. There is no real jump in the jumpshot and it is more of a set shot. The jump usually comes right as he is releasing the ball so he reaches his peak after the ball is gone. His stroke is rather inconsistent right now, more reps are necessary but I have been encouraged with how his jumper looks now compared to just a year ago.
I believe in him becoming a respectable shooter off the catch from deep. His shot preparation when he is shooting off the catch is reasonably clean already. He has impressive touch and a willingness to shoot the ball even under pressure. Becoming a respectable shooter off the catch will help to open the floor up for him as a driver and playmaker. Keeping defenses honest with an outside shot will allow him to be valuable as an off ball playmaker.
The clips below show what Giddey’s stroke looks like. It can be cleaned up but he does get it to work.
When attacking the rim Giddey shows nice touch with a variety of finishes. He is able to finish with either hand and is crafty getting shots off at the rim. He uses same leg layups and floaters to avoid rim protectors with length. Giddey also likes to sneak the ball up on to the glass with the wrong hand. The touch he possesses is useful given that he can’t always get right to the rim.
I put his occasional struggles getting to the rim mainly down to a lack of burst but also a lack of strength. He doesn’t completely shy away from contact but he isn’t the biggest fan of it. At the rim he isn’t going to absorb the contact from a defender and finish but instead relies on crafty finishes and his touch. When handling the ball as he takes his two steps he is more likely to go through contact than when actually finishing. As he lacks the burst to create separation it’s often necessary for him to create space with a eurostep or similar move. I think with added strength we could see more of him embracing contact as he does tend to throw his weight around off the ball and has the height and touch to be effective at the rim.
Floaters are pretty common for Giddey. His touch is very impressive on these floaters. When he isn’t able to get to the rim, Giddey is often able to take two steps and get a floater off. Scoring through floaters and away from the rim can be inefficient but having the ability to do this especially at the younger levels is promising. He lacks shot making in the mid range so having the floater as an option opens up the floor as defenders aren’t able to simply deny him at the rim when he drives.
Despite his physical limitations Giddey can actually hold up at times on the defensive end. He’s not necessarily a good defender but he has height and good hands. Teams may hunt him out in the NBA but it’s not going to be like Trae Young or someone similar. At his height, players aren’t just going to be able to shoot over him. There will be some resistance as long as he applies effort.
When his defender decides to attack the rim he usually does a good job of moving his feet. It is usually up until just before the rim that he does a decent job. Once they’re at the rim he can struggle to contest the shot. This can be from him standing up in his stance when getting near the rim but mainly, lack of athleticism hurts him here as he just can’t get up above the rim to block shots.
On the ball, Giddey likes to swipe at the ball. His hands are pretty fast and he usually does a good job when he decides to gamble. As he isn’t the best defender having active hands at his size is a great way for him to help make an impact. He often swipes for the ball as his man picks up his dribble to go up with a shot. Going forward this will probably continue as he won’t be able to deter shots enough at the rim.
Navigating screens can be a problem for him. When he is sliding his feet and has to get through a screen he often jumps out of the way. This causes him to trail the ball handler. While this can sometimes be a communication problem the fact that it occurs frequently likely shifts the blame more towards Giddey. He needs to add some core strength to be able to slide and navigate through screens. This will help him stay with his man instead of getting out of the way and trailing the play. Another thing I have noticed is that he very rarely goes under a screen.
Giddey appears to be disengaged at times off the ball. I’ve noticed his effort waning at times as he can be caught watching the ball. When he is engaged, he does a good job of picking off passes or swiping at the ball. Again, this is a credit to his active hands on defense. He usually makes rotations but can be slightly late as he doesn’t always recognise the need for help straight away. When he does make a rotation to protect the rim he does a great job of using his verticality.
Once a shot is up Giddey almost always gravitates towards the rim to grab a defensive rebound. You can see his natural instincts for the ball as he tracks the ball in the air and predicts the bounce. This doesn’t always pay off for him though as he won’t box out his man. If he gets unlucky with the bounce, he can give up some easy putbacks.
Josh Giddey is an extremely talented player and will more than likely be drafted in the 2021 draft. His passing ability and IQ on the wing makes him a first round talent in my opinion. However, he does have physical limitations and trouble scoring the ball off the dribble. It will be interesting how much value his passing has going forward if he struggles to pose a threat as a scorer shooting the ball. If Giddey is able to improve his athleticism he will make a great off ball player who can makes plays off the catch. His defense will need to improve before he gets minutes in the NBA. The improvement in his shooting has been promising and will hopefully continue.
This coming season in the NBL will be incredibly important for Giddey’s development. There will be many NBA front offices and scouts watching him this season. He is in a position to play alongside former NBA point guard Donald Sloan while taking in valuable experience. Teams will be continuing to monitor the changes he has made to his body. Giddey has been on a rapid development path since playing in his first nationals in 2019. He could potentially become a first round pick in 2021.