Five years after the creation of the NBA Academy, the NBA’s path towards developing an international pipeline is beginning to form. And it start’s with Thunder guard Josh Giddey.
ESPN draft analyst Jonathan Givony details the NBA academy’s latest ventures in a recent article, which points to Giddey’s drafting being of monumental value.
Giddey, who posted 18 points, seven rebounds and three assists on 8-for-12 shooting, had arguably one of the best rookie performances of the preseason thus far.
Giddey is far-and-away the best product to come out of the Academy thus far, but there are seven more players in various academies scattered in Australia, Mexico, Senegal, India and China to appear in the latest ESPN top 100.
Despite a gem in Giddey, Givony went on to explain that the Academy still has plenty of work to do.
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“Giddey was a huge home run for the Academy, but league executives will probably be much more enthusiastic if and when the academies can identify elite NBA talent from non-traditional basketball countries that didn't already have great infrastructure and history in place.” Givony writes. “The three academies in China (now consolidated to two) and one in India (currently on pause due to COVID-19) have yet to produce a single player of note, which raises questions about one of the core tenets the academy was built around -- finding a Yao Ming-type figure from some of the most important emerging international "priority markets" such as China, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Mexico, Korea, Japan and others and helping to globalize the NBA, and in turn, create revenue for the league.”
Givony continued detailing the major questions surrounding the NBA Academy, most of which would more than likely be significantly amplified had one of its graduates not been a top selection in the 2021 NBA Draft.
It’s clear Giddey was a hit for the Academy, now the only question is: will Giddey be a hit for the Thunder?
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