The passing game and basketball IQ of Aussie young gun Josh Giddey are the talk of the town in Oklahoma City.
The return of the Oklahoma City Thunder’s leading scorer for its clash with the Washington Wizards wasn’t enough to distract America from the basketball IQ and beguiling passing game of Aussie young gun Josh Giddey.
For the two games ahead of Saturday afternoon (AEDT), Giddey took on primary ballhandling duties while influential guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander nursed an ankle injury.
The 19-year-old Aussie handled the extra workload with aplomb, averaging 17 points, eight assists and seven rebounds in Gilgeous-Alexander’s absence.
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His minutes were down on Saturday, but Giddey nevertheless found a way to get his fingerprints all over the contest.
From the get-go, Giddey looked intent on bringing the Thunder’s four-game skid to a halt. He drove through the paint and iced a one-handed lay-up to give OKC the first points of the game barely 20 seconds from the tip-off.
The Wizards had just as much of a point to prove — after starting the 2021/22 season 10-3, Washington has dropped four of its last five — but couldn’t start with the same ferocity.
The Wizards missed all four of their first attempts from beyond the arc and were left to play catch-up as a result, leading for less than a minute in the first half.
When the Wizards took the lead in the dying seconds before the half, Giddey had the chance to snatch it back, but his shot from downtown bounced off the rim.
Nevertheless, the young Aussie went into the main break with the equal-most rebounds of anyone on the court.
It was Giddey’s passing game that continued to stun American punters on Saturday night, though — his vision on-court and basketball brain have taken him to the top of the assists rankings for all NBA rookies this season, and he added four more to his tally against the Wizards.
The Wizards led all through the third quarter, but the Thunder’s strong defensive record in final quarters would’ve given Giddey and co. hope.
Luguentz Dort once again led the Thunder’s scorers, and while three Giddey free throws at the death helped the NBA’s youngest side to close the gap, it wasn’t enough to break the losing slide. The Thunder went down 101-99 and risks losing six on the trot if it can’t topple the Houston Rockets on Tuesday (AEDT).
Originally published as Josh Giddey’s stellar passing game continues to stun American fans