Josh Giddy says he is determined to take his game to the next level and ensure there is no second year of blues after his illustrious NBA rookie campaign with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The 19-year-old exceeded expectations in his first season, impressing with his all-court playmaking skills and breaking records Youngest player to do triple-double in the history of the NBA.
But Giddy hasn’t played a proper NBA game since hurt his hip in March and he is itching to get out of court when the new season starts next month.
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“It’s getting closer, people are excited,” Giddy told news.com.au.
“The off-season has been good, I have to work on things I need to work on. Now at OKC, the team is together, everyone is excited and ready to move on.”
Giddy has been spending a lot of time in the gym this off-season to make sure his body can withstand the rigors of a marathon 82-game NBA season.
“Yeah body looks good, ready to go,” he said.
“We have an excellent medical staff and they take great care of all of us. They have been very good with me, just fixing the things I need with my body. Obviously it was important to take care of that hip last year.
“I’ve spent a lot of time in the weight room making sure the little troubles that happen throughout the year are prevented as much as possible and that I can play a healthy 82 games.
“It’s a long season so taking care of your body is an important part of being an NBA player.”
Oklahoma City is in the midst of a lengthy rebuild and has gone on its way to submit several draft picks in hopes of competing for a championship later this decade.
One of those selections turned into seven-footed Chet Holmgren, who was taken by the Thunder at No. 2 in the NBA draft.
Holmgren and Giddy gave fans a fascinating glimpse into the future as they Starred playing each other in Summer League earlier this year.
But Holmgren will likely not play an NBA game this season after suffering a Lisfranc leg injury during an exhibition game last month.
It’s a brutal blow to OKC, which finished second in the Western Conference standings last season and looks set to struggle to reach 30 wins again.
But Giddy, who will take on more responsibility alongside franchise star Shai Gilgius-Alexander, is optimistic and said the Thunder aim to improve every game and be competitive.
“The general goal around the group is to be better than last year,” he said.
“I would say the same thing next year, you want to keep improving slowly. It’s hard to go from a rebuilding team to a championship team in one year.
“I think being competitive every night is something we want to pride ourselves on. There were nights last year where it was clear that the teams were more experienced, older, more talented than us.
“But I think this year if we can come out with the mindset that we can compete with anyone, that will help us move forward.
“I’m excited for this team, it’s a hungry group. Guys are working this summer, so I’m excited to see what we can do this year.”
The snubs clearly didn’t sit down with him at the time, but Giddy is focused on improving his basketball and letting the talking go.
“At the end of the day, I don’t get to decide who gets to which team, it just plays the way he does,” he said.
“The guys who made the first team, they all qualified. It’s a stacked rookie class we had last year and there’s talent from top to bottom. I don’t really think about it anymore except you move on.” .
“In 20 years, there’s no looking back, like ‘Josh made this team or this team’. So it’s not the end of the world for me.
“I am looking forward to this year. Not just me but I am sure these other rookies are working with points to prove this summer and I think it is going to be an exciting season.
One criticism of Giddy’s game so far has been his shooting. And the ability to hit the scoreboard.
But that could change when legendary shooting guru Chip Engeland joins the Thunder this off-season as an assistant coach after a long stint at the San Antonio Spurs.
“Shooting was huge for me this off-season,” Giddy said.
“Spent a lot of time in the gym to take shots. Apparently here’s Chip England – one of the best if not the best shooting coaches in the world – someone here at Thunder who is perfect for me to use as much as possible . He’s been great.”
Asked if Engeland has changed his shooting style at all, Giddy said: “Not really. Chip is hard to explain. He’s a magician with what he does.
“It’s not unorthodox, but it’s different from every other coach I’ve had that’s said, ‘Shoot like this.’ Chip is one of the coolest people around me. He’s clearly San Antonio Been doing this for so long.
“When I found out he was coming to OKC I was so excited for him and knew he was someone I was going to spend a lot of time with. He has been great and I look forward to continuing to work with him Am.”
Giddy is already one of the biggest names in Australian basketball and was rewarded with a solid ranking of 82 in the latest edition of the NBA2K video game released last week.
“It’s great to be a part of a game I’ve played for so long,” he said.
“It’s a lot of fun playing with my teammates and myself to get into it now,” he said. Ranking, I’m happy with it.
“The second year where I am, it’s 2K so I’m happy with the ratings and look forward to seeing the difference this year from last year.”
Boomers jerseys will also be available for players to use in NBA 2K23.
“It’s good that Australia has got that recognition,” Giddy said.
“It is now ranked third in the world for basketball. For Boomers as a whole and for Australia to receive that recognition and it speaks volumes about the progress of basketball in that country.” Being at 2K is a testament to that and I’m definitely looking forward to playing with them.”