Josh Giddey missed out on a normal Summer League experience, but he’s not going to let that hold him back.
The Oklahoma City Thunder’s No. 6-overall selection sprained his ankle in the opening minutes of Summer League, and he didn’t feature in any of OKC’s remaining games in Las Vegas.
But now, the Australian is 100 percent focused on making the most of training camp.
“A lot of rookies use the Summer League to kind of get warm and get this under their belt, but obviously I didn't get to have that,” Giddey said during Thunder Media Day on Monday. “It's just using practice as kind of that stepping-stone for me.
“We're playing pickup right now, so being able to compete against the guys, get used to the flow of an NBA game. And I know it's hard to simulate that in practice but we're doing what we can to get up-and-down and get after it.”
Coming over to the United States from the NBL in Australia, Giddey said he’ll have plenty of adjustments to make to his game, so he’s just focused on improving himself throughout his rookie year.
“I'm putting no expectations on myself come opening night,” Giddey said. “I’m just doing my thing to help the team be as successful as we can, playing my role. I'm sure opening night there'll be some nerves, but once that ball is thrown up, I think that will all be out the window and it will just be basketball as normal.
“I’m not trying to put expectations on myself play hard do what I have to do to win.”
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Not only will Giddey have to adjust to the pace of the game in the NBA, but he’ll be playing a different role with the Thunder.
In the NBL, Giddey was the primary ball handler for his team, but having Shai Gilgeous-Alexander will move the rookie off the ball a bit more.
“I'm really excited about that, and obviously playing with Shai, it's something I'm going to have to get used to and kind of learn how to do so,” Giddey said. “It's exciting and I'm really looking forward to it. It's a really young group of guys, and we're still figuring each other out, but come opening night I'm sure we're going to have it pretty well figured out, but it's not going to be perfect and it's going to take a little while to adjust to each other and get used to that.”
While adjusting to his new teammates during the summer pick-up games, Giddey said guys like Gilgeous-Alexander, Lu Dort, Derrick Favors and Mike Muscala have all been helpful in showing him the ropes with the Thunder.
“Obviously as you say we have a young team, so the vets like Mike Muscala, Derrick Favors and then it goes to Shai, Lu, Darius, but it's been good,” Giddey said. “They've been really good at kind of helping me make a smooth transition into the team. At practice, in the weight room they've been good kind of showing me the ropes, helping me out with the offense, stuff like that.
“Those guys have been great for me in terms of just learning the system, getting to know everybody, getting comfortable with the team. You can call them vets, but those older guys have been really good for me.”
Healthy again, Giddey appears ready to attack the challenge of his rookie season in the NBA.
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