The NBL could have another bona fide superstar on its hands as it’s taken just two games for the Adelaide 36ers’ Josh Giddey to be deemed a potential first round NBA draft pick.
The 18-year-old Melburnian has set the league alight in his first two games, scoring seven points, seven rebounds and four assists in a 24-point loss to Melbourne United, before a 16 point, 11 rebound and seven assist night in a double overtime win over South East Melbourne on Sunday.
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But while former Aussie NBA player and two-time NBL MVP Chris Anstey claimed Giddey was a “genuine NBA 1st round draft pick”, the youngster has copped an important lesson.
Having pulled off a steal in overtime after some lazy work with the ball from the Phoenix, Giddey ran away by himself and went up for the dunk, only to slide off the rim and fall in a heavy face plant.
While it proved to be little more than a blooper on the way to a victory for the young star, the result has put his name up high on the draft boards.
The win was Adelaide’s first ever double overtime win and Giddey became the second youngest player to record a double-double in the competition, missing the record by just four days.
The youngest player — Charlotte Hornets rookie LaMelo Ball, who was 18 years, three months and three days when he was setting the NBL alight for the Wollongong Hawks last season.
Ball eventually went number three in the draft and appears to be one of the leading contenders for the rookie of the year early in the NBA season after becoming the youngest ever player to score a triple-double.
Giddey is following in Ball’s footsteps as a member of the NBL Next Stars program, while allows players in the year before they nominate for the draft to play in the competition.
Having stacked on 10-12kg of muscle over the off-season, the 202cm point guard is making waves overseas.
In fact, NCA NewsWire reported that Adelaide general manager Jeff Van Gronigen had confirmed NBA clubs had been in touch about Giddey, who is the son of 449-game Melbourne Tigers veteran and two-time NBL championship winner Warrick and former WNBL player Kim.
“Josh is a special talent and equally terrific kid – I’m not sure the league has had a better 18-year-old in an awfully long time,” Van Groningen said about Giddey, who has also spent time with the NBA Global Academy in Canberra.
“His development has been strong over the past couple of months and as he has quickly adapted to the NBL’s size, speed and intensity.
“His (first two games) have been a demonstration of why he was a priority in the off-season to sign.”
He has some big names in his corner already as well with NBA star Joe Ingles and Anstey having his back.
The Bleacher Report’s lead NBA scout/draft writer Jonathan Wasserman even had Giddey in his top five players to move up the draft board.