Young Australian basketball star Josh Giddey will begin his NBA career with the Oklahoma City Thunder. The 200-cm tall Australian point guard was taken at pick No.6 in Thursday's NBA draft.
The NBL Rookie of the Year impressed scouts after an average of 10.9 points, 7.6 assists, 7.3 rebounds and 1.1 steals in 28 games for the Adelaide 36ers, becoming the youngest Australian to register a triple-double in the league. The draft is being held later than its traditional late-June slot for the second straight year due to the COVID-19 pandemic that interrupted the 2019-20 season.
As well as keeping in regular touch with Utah Jazz veteran Ingles, Giddey has been working with Australian basketball great Andrew Gaze, who admits he's disappointed the teenager wasn't selected by Brian Goorjian in the team currently chasing Olympic gold.
He remained part of the extended squad though, choosing to travel to Las Vegas for exhibition games and notching 14 points, four rebounds and three assists against Nigeria with NBA scouts, who had already followed him to Australia, watching on.
Ingles is confident Giddey's non-selection for the Tokyo tilt won't turn him off the national program and those smarts as a tall, composed playmaker will take him far. "He's got a massive future and we're all really excited for him," Ingles said.
"To have him around our group was really cool; he wasn't in the final team, but he was the one that elected to come with us to Vegas and be around the group. "That's pretty special ... I'm excited for him. "I don't want to say mentoring because he's smart enough, but just talking with him over the last couple of years."
Goorjian made the tough call to leave Giddey out of his final 12-man squad but says he's "very important" as a next-generation Boomer. "It saves four years because he touched this (by playing an training in Las Vegas)," the coach said.
"And when those guys (Ingles, Patty Mills, Aron Baynes and Matthew Dellavedova) go it's him, Matisse (Thybulle), (Josh) Green, those guys are very important. "In Vegas the scouts came in, he played in the Nigeria game and played very well.
"So his time in the Boomers certainly wasn't a negative for his draft status. "His appeal has gone forward ... so it was a good marriage both ways."