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OU and Team Australia Assistant David Patrick Breaks Down Josh Giddey's Game

After seeing Giddey first hand earlier this Summer, David Patrick is excited for what the Australian will bring to the Thunder.

Josh Giddey was a draft night surprise for Oklahoma City Thunder fans.

In the lead-up to the 2021 NBA Draft, the Thunder were heavily linked with the likes of Scottie Barnes, Jonathan Kuminga and James Bouknight, but it was instead the lengthy Australian guard who captured the imagination of Oklahoma City general manager Sam Presti.

The move came as no shock to one newly minted Oklahoman, however.

David Patrick, who was just hired to be the associate head coach on Porter Moser’s new staff at Oklahoma, was elated for Giddey.

Not only has Patrick been a well respected member of coaching staffs as both a head coach and an assistant in college basketball, he’s also been an assistant with Team Australia since the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

Initially from Bermuda, Patrick moved to Melbourne, Australia when he was 10-years-old and he has been tied to the booming basketball culture Down Under ever since.

Josh Giddey

Josh Giddey was taken with the No. 6-overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft by the Oklahoma City Thunder

“We had Andrew Gaze kind of lead the way for us in Australia. He went to college at Seton Hall, he played briefly with the Spurs but got them a championship and he’s from Melbourne,” Patrick told SI Thunder. “I think any young kid growing up wanted to be like him.”

The heritage has continued, as Kyrie Irving, Andre Bogut, Ben Simmons, Dante Exum and now Giddey have all found a path to the NBA from Australia.

“Basketball in Melbourne is a big deal. A lot of these kid’s fathers played professionally in Australia,” Patrick said. “They not only have the pedigree, but they have a great junior system to get these kids ready to play in the NBA.”

One of those fathers who played professionally in Australia was Warrick Giddey, Josh’s dad, who Patrick has known for a long time.

“I played with Josh’s dad, Warrick, back in Australia,” Patrick said. And as a result, Patrick has been a fan of Giddey’s game from the very beginning.

“I offered Josh when I was the head coach back at UC Riverside, so I kind of watched him,” Patrick said. “He’s from my club, so I kind of know him pretty up and close.”

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For those Thunder fans who haven’t watched a ton of NBL basketball, the top professional league in Australia where Giddey played for the Adelaide 36ers, Patrick thinks the fanbase will be in for a pleasant surprise once Giddey hits the floor.

“I think what you’re going to get in the player is somebody with a high IQ that really knows how to pass and play in the pick and roll,” Patrick said. “And his shooting ability is probably better than his numbers say. He shot the ball in the NBL probably the second half of the season. I think the space on the floor here in the NBA is going to be much suited to his game.”

And just as LaMelo Ball and R.J. Hampton did last year, Patrick said he thinks Giddey will be able to translate his high level of play to the NBA, as the NBL rule set allows defenses to lean on the offensive players way more than the rules do here stateside.

“It’s a physical, physical league, and you can’t cut freely,” Patrick said. “The word freedom of movement probably doesn’t exist in the NBL. What probably makes the national team so good is that you do play with that physicality.”

Patrick hasn’t had to rely on just film to scout out Giddey, however, as both Patrick and Giddey were in Team Australia’s camp preparing for the Olympic Games in Tokyo last month.

After watching Giddey play amongst established NBA players such as Joe Ingles, Patty Mills, Matisse Thybulle and Aaron Baynes, Patrick was impressed with how quickly the young Thunder guard was able to adjust and be a difference maker.

“In the first couple of days he was finding his footing because we were putting stuff in the half court,” Patrick said. “But when we really started going up and down, you could really see why he’s an NBA lottery pick.

“He’s wirey strong. You look at him and he still looks so young, but he’s got an ability to get in the lane and make great passes.”

Patrick also said he thinks Giddey will be able to play off of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander just fine as he has the feel for the game to make the right plays as both the point guard and playing off-ball.

Though neither Giddey or Patrick were able to make it to Tokyo, as Giddey didn’t make the final Team Australia roster and Patrick tore his achilles in the run up to the Olympic Games, Patrick said the experiences they both had in Team Australia camp give him optimism that Oklahoma City’s new Australian star will thrive for the Thunder.