Whether the New Orleans Pelicans trade down or not, Josh Giddey is a star in the making who might get a look.
The long point guard out of Australia spent his lone professional season in the NBL (Australia’s basketball league), where he was Rookie of the year and led an Adelaide 36ers team with former NBA players Issac Humphries and Brandon Paul. With Lonzo Ball‘s free agency up in the air, a guard like Giddey is almost a seamless fit with New Orleans.
Giddey brings a lot to the table as a lead guard. He measures anywhere from 6’7 to 6’9, depending on the website, but that size alone is one to marvel at. Former NBL player LaMelo Ball measured similarly to Giddey, with both players possessing similar traits that will both great players for a long time. Other than this size, Giddey is an excellent rebounder and distributor. Averaging over seven rebounds and assists a game in a league that does not favor youth development, Giddey earned the respect of his teammates and coaching staff with his high IQ and toughness.
Pelicans NBA Draft: Prospect Josh Giddey could be the best passer in the draft
Giddey’s passing was on display all year in the NBL and continued into Australia’s thrashing of Nigeria on Tuesday night. Giddey plays at such a controlled pace for his age and uses slight head movements and twitches, making defenders bite on jumping lanes, freeing up open shooters. It is obvious Giddey is comfortable facilitating in all forms, especially pick and rolls and in isolation, something the Pelicans need. In particular, Giddey loves cross-court passes and executes them with such accuracy that no time is lost for the shooter.
Due to his lack of explosion and poor shooting mechanics, Giddey does struggle to score the basketball. Given that he is only 18 years old and has not developed into his body, there is a good chance he can become a paint threat, especially when guarded by point guards. However, his shooting will have to improve drastically. His form is not necessarily broken, but he does have a low arcing shot and poor rotation on the ball, which leads to flat shots with a low margin of error.
His shooting is very much feast or famine, but there have been improvements over the season.
As mentioned earlier, Giddey is not an elite athlete, but he uses speed changes to create space for himself and other players, particularly the roll man. The changes in speed in today’s NBA seem more crucial than ever, with guards like Luka Doncic utilizing this to make up for his lack of burst. Obviously, Giddey’s is not at the level of Doncic, but there is a roadmap to him becoming an effective scorer if his shot never translates.
Defensively, Giddey’s smarts and IQ are on display. Like national team compatriot Joe Ingles, Giddey uses his understanding of the game to make up for his lack of foot speed. He will never become a lockdown defender but has shown he will excel as a team defender. His length alone should provide some disruptions as he does possess quick hands. He has shown a tendency to work hard on that end, similar to all Australian basketball players, and improve his instincts and skills. The Pelicans were woeful on defense and could use some guys who are dedicated and talented on that end.
Personally, I believe Giddey’s fit with the New Orleans Pelicans would be successful. A pass-first long guard like Ball is a commodity in the NBA, and on a cheap rookie contract, it will allow New Orleans to use their cap space for other positions and improve their depth. Even if New Orleans re-signs Ball, a dual guard lineup with Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Kira Lewis Jr., Lonzo Ball and Josh Giddey will provide nightmares on both ends.
Similarly, the added flexibility in their lineups will allow the new head coach to adapt on the fly to any team without compromising much on either end. He may not be a star from day 1, but Giddey indeed has the potential to become an all-star point guard. Some could say that I’m Giddy for Giddey.