Josh Giddey Enters 2021 NBA Draft; Averaged 11 PPG in Australia's NBL

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistApril 27, 2021

A rack of NBA Spading basketballs sit at mid court prior to the start of an NBA basketball game between the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks, Thursday, March 28, 2019, in Miami. The Heat defeated the Mavericks 105-99. (AP Photo/Joel Auerbach)
Joel Auerbach/Associated Press

Australian guard Josh Giddey is entering the 2021 NBA draft pool.

Giddey has averaged 11.1 points, 7.4 assists and 7.1 rebounds per game with the Adelaide 36ers in Australia's National Basketball League this season.

The 18-year-old shared a statement with ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski about his decision on Tuesday:

"I know that playing in the NBL has more than prepared me for the next level, so I'm ready to take that jump and enter the 2021 NBA Draft. The 36ers have done a great job developing me, and have put a lot of work into my game over the entire time I've been here. My teammates and the coaching staff here in Adelaide have helped my game reach a new level, and that's only given me more confidence that this is the right decision for me."

The NBL also provided a statement from the teenager:


Josh Giddey has officially declared for the 2021 #NBA Draft 🙌 Catch him in #NBL21 while you can 👀 #NBLxNBA https://t.co/J2mJb8Vd2D

In his most recent mock draft, Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman had Giddey going 16th overall to the Memphis Grizzlies.

The immediate success of Charlotte Hornets star LaMelo Ball might be allaying some fears about whether the Melbourne, Australia, native can make a positive impact right out of the gate. Ball, who played briefly in the NBL last season, was the runaway Rookie of the Year favorite before getting sidelined by a wrist injury.

Giddey still has some work to do as a shooter. He has knocked down 42 percent of his attempts from the field and 31 percent of his three-pointers. Still, ESPN's Jonathan Givony wrote the 2021 class includes few players "who show the type of vision, creativity and awareness Giddey does."


🚨 TRIPLE DOUBLE 🚨 @Adelaide36ers Next Star Josh Giddey clocks his first career triple double on this play #NBL21 https://t.co/RCjbTFsRlK

Between his frame (6'7", 192 lbs) and his ability to run an offense, it's not hard to see why the Australian is considered such a tantalizing prospect. Given his age, he might not be done growing either.

Giddey talked to Mike Schmitz of ESPN about what he can provide to an NBA team: "With my size, being able to be versatile, playing 1 through 3, guarding 1 through 3. I'm unselfish, and guys will like to play with me because I can get them the ball where they want it, when they want it. I love to pass the ball."

Last November, The Athletic's Sam Vecenie spoke to people around the NBA who said the 2021 class is "one of the deepest drafts in recent memory." Giddey is a prime example of that.

Teams that wind up in the back half of the lottery might rue their bad luck in losing out on the chance to get Jalen Suggs, Cade Cunningham, Jalen Green or Evan Mobley. Depending on how high his stock climbs, Giddey might be sitting there as a great consolation prize.