Toronto Raptors NBA Draft Prospects: Australian point guard Josh Giddey

Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images
Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images /

The Toronto Raptors have had a strange season. They have had health and safety protocols completely flip their roster, let alone starting lineup all season. And they’ve had to play in Tampa, Florida instead of Toronto, Canada all season.

The Raptors sit in the 12th seed of the Eastern Conference with a 26-36 record, and they are projected to finish in the lottery of the 2021 NBA Draft.

The front office is both trying to make the play-in and scout for the draft, especially a certain 6’8” point guard out of Australia’s NBL, Josh Giddey.

The Raptors are one of two teams that have sent a scout to Australia. The Golden State Warriors have sent Michael Lee to monitor their 2020 54th overall pick and Draft and Stash player Justinian Jessup.

The reason this is newsworthy is that the Australian Government mandates any international traveller must quarantine for 14 days in a hotel before entering the country. This means if you send someone to Australia (and away for at least three weeks) the team must be really interested in the prospect.

The almost-month away trip has put many teams off sending scouts to the NBL this season. ESPN’s Jonathan Givony explained in a recent podcast:

"“People just haven’t been able to see him live, the two-week quarantine getting into Australia is pretty much a deal-breaker for NBA executives”."

The NBL’s Liam Santamaria said on the broadcast that the Raptors had sent a scout to watch Josh Giddey. Sources have told that the scout is the Raptors Director of Global Scouting Patrick Engelbrecht.

So, who is Josh Giddey? And why would the Toronto Raptors want him in the NBA draft?

Josh Giddey is an Australian point guard standing at 6’8” and plays in the NBL for the Adelaide 36ers.

His best skillset by far is his playmaking, Giddey at 18 years and six months old already leads the league in assists. After round 15 Giddey is averaging 11 points per game, 7.1 rebounds per game and 7.4 assists per game (league leader) 31.0 percent from three on 3.6 attempts.

Throughout the season Josh Giddey’s offense has developed significantly, before the NBL season in December he was projected 48th by ESPN, mostly due to his inability to shoot.

Now after months of playing in a professional league and system Giddey has exploded as a dynamic offensive weapon.

He’s able to finish around the basket and is able to get to his spots quicker, he loves the mid-range pull-up and can get a clean shot away with his size, which is well above average for his position.

His newly found ability to shoot has helped him become an efficient half-court threat, and with his size and vision, he’s a dangerous pick and roll partner. Some of the passes he throws are absolutely ridiculous – in the same vein as Ben Simmons and Luka Doncic.

In the half-court he slows the game down and is excellent at reading and reacting to the defense, in the full-court he pushes the tempo and forces the defensive to collapse, and allows Giddey to make the right play damn near every time.

His rapid development on offense has pushed him up draft boards, Giddey been projected as high as ninth by Bleacher Report.

In his past 10 games, Giddey has averaged 12.7 points per game, 8.2 rebounds per game and 9.8 assists per game, shooting 40.4 percent from three on 4.2 attempts.

Giddey can be your lead playmaker in the future, which is in slight contrast to the Raptors signing Fred VanVleet to a large extension.

However, If the Raptors are desperate to have him, he would work perfectly as a secondary playmaker in starting lineups or as your lead or secondary playmaker off the bench (depends on how Malachi Flynn develops as a shooter).

Giddey has some work to do defensively, he’s upright when he defends, allowing quicker guards to slip past him. And his shooting, turnovers, and athleticism (which is good, but not dynamic at an NBL-level) will always be questions for front offices in the pre-draft process.

Giddey still has ten games to play before the NBL season ends, and after that, I will write a full draft profile on him – so if you’re interested to hear more about him, stick around.

Josh Giddey would fit well, but not perfectly on this Raptors team. They should be looking for a pure scorer and big man in the NBA draft. But, if Giddey is on the board at where the Toronto Raptors are currently projected, there is a good chance they’ll take him.

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