Josh Giddey has a rich basketball lineage.
Not only did both of his parents play professional ball, he hails from one of the more underrated basketball factories in the world — Melbourne, Australia.
After producing No. 1-overall picks in Ben Simmons, Kyrie Irving and Andrew Bogut, Giddey hopes to continue the Melbourne tradition in the NBA.
“It's really special. To follow on from the guys we have had go through the NBA, it means a lot to me and I looked up to those guys for a long time and I speak to them and try and get advice from them,” Giddey said during a Zoom press conference after Sam Presti took him with the sixth overall pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft. “The Australian basketball community is really tight. So, to have those guys by my side and supporting me through this whole process has been really good for me.
“It's really special.”
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Sam Presti and the Thunder reportedly met Giddey for a “secret workout” run by head coach Mark Daigneault, convincing him to pull the trigger for the Oklahoma City Thunder ahead of the 2021 NBA Draft.
But his skillset shouldn’t come as any shock to the Thunder, as he’s been honing it for years in the NBL. He’s not the first to walk this path either, as he has contemporaries in Terrance Ferguson, LaMelo Ball and R.J. Hampton who have all made the transition from the NBL to the NBA, yielding mixed results.
“Watching LaMelo and R.J. Hampton go through that same process and see how well their game translated from the NBL to the NBA gave me confidence going in that hopefully I can do something a little bit similar,” Giddey said.
Giddey even went as far to say as he was lucky to play in the NBL alongside Ball and Hampton, as they gave him a larger platform to impress NBA scouts.
As an Australian native, Giddey has also had the opportunity to be involved with the Team Australia setup, exposing him to high levels of international basketball before he’s set foot on an NBA court. The Thunder man played with the Boomers during their Olympic qualifying campaign, playing alongside the likes of Joe Ingles, Aaron Baynes, Patty Mills and Matthew Dellavedova.
“The Boomers was really good for me, regardless of making the team or not,” Giddey said. “Just to be in that environment, be around the veterans we have and the talent we have, it's not just the on-court aspect of getting to compete against them and stuff like that it's also off court, getting to learn from them, talk to them, get advice from them, and it was good.
“The Boomers culture is such a strong one and hopefully going forward for the next 15, 20 years, it's something I can be a part of.”
The 6-foot-8 guard was certainly built in Australia, but he hopes his foundation will pay dividends in Oklahoma City.