Josh Giddey is making NBA history, and not just among Aussie players
After outplaying Luka Dončić head-to-head and becoming the youngest player in NBA history to record a triple double, Giddey's rookie season keeps going from strength to strength.
On 3 January 2020, we compared a then-Victorian Under 18 standout to Luka Dončić, the youngest player to ever make an All-NBA First Team. Josh Giddey was a relative unknown at the time, even amongst some of Australia’s most die hard hoops fans, and anointing him “Australia’s answer to Luka Dončić” naturally raised some eyebrows.
“If I wanted to read click bait titles I would’ve followed ESPN,” one reader commented.
Not to say we told you so, but the comparison was based on playing style rather than accolades, as Giddey himself has spoken of his admiration for the Dallas Mavericks star. As a 6’9 point guard who threatens a triple double on a regular basis, the Aussie found a role model in Dončić, who also made the leap from a foreign league to the NBA at a young age.
“Luka Doncic is my favourite player. I watch a lot of him and try to mould my game around him,” Giddey told SEN in 2020, prior to joining the Adelaide 36ers.
Exactly two years after we released the above piece, on 3 January 2022, Giddey made NBA history when he faced his idol for the first time. The 19 year old recorded a monstrous stat line, with 17 points, 13 rebounds and 14 assists in Oklahoma City’s 86-95 loss to Dallas. Although he didn’t come away with a win, Giddey outplayed Dončić head-to-head, as the Slovenian recorded a less impressive 14 points, 9 rebounds and 10 assists. Dončić also gave the ball away seven times, while Giddey had only three turnovers.
Sure, glorifying one game may sound a little excessive, but it represented the climax of an already-remarkable rookie season to date. At just 19 years and 84 days old, Giddey became the youngest person in NBA history to notch a triple double, beating out previous record holder LaMelo Ball by 56 days. By immediately following up Ball’s success just one year later, Giddey arguably became the NBL Next Stars program’s biggest endorsement to date.
For the season, Giddey is averaging 11.3 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.4 assists at the time of writing. His celebrated playmaking has lived up to the hype from day one, and that assist figure is underselling some of the magic we’ve seen. Giddey is averaging 11.6 potential assists each game, per NBA player tracking, highlighting how many of his dimes have been squandered. Playing on a young team that ranks dead last in the NBA for three-point shooting efficiency, this was always expected, but we now have an idea of his statistical floor - and it’s quite encouraging.