For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, presented by Babcock Hoops, we have NBA Global Academy guard Joshua Giddey, from Melbourne, Australia:
Prospective Insight: Prior to NBA Academy where were you playing and how did this opportunity come about for you?
Joshua Giddey: So I was back home in Melbourne, Australia. I played for my club team, the Melbourne Tigers. I didn’t make any state teams or anything like that, I didn’t represent my state or country until I was 17 years old. I wasn’t really known, then I came up to the Academy and that’s kind of where I’ve made a name for myself, I guess.
PI: What city are you in with NBA Academy?
JG: It’s in Canberra.
PI: How does Canberra compare to your hometown (Melbourne)? Do you prefer one over the other?
JG: I mean Melbourne is a very busy city...traffic all the time...it’s packed and really congested. Canberra has a lot of land, no people or traffic at all, it’s completely different than Melbourne. I prefer Melbourne.
PI: Can you share a bit about your experience with the Academy, so far?
JG: Yeah, so I got here in about January, or so. I’ve been with the Academy for about a year now. It has been great...all of the overseas hoops, exposure, playing against the best players in the world for my age group, and in the one above. You get so much better from it. The coaches have so much knowledge and you compete against the best players in the world, every day.
PI: What are the most important things you’ll be taking away from your experience playing in the Tarkanian Classic in Las Vegas?
JG: Probably my ability to finish over big athletes, because over in Australia we’ve got athletes, but nothing compared to Americans. In the US, everyone is athletic, everyone is big and long, so finishing around them is a good challenge.
PI: For those who don’t know about your game, could you describe it a little bit? What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
JG: I would say my best attribute is probably my passing. Ever since I was young I’ve always been a pass-first kind of guy, so I really look to get my teammates involved. The thing I’m working on most is my three-point shot...that’s what I’m looking to improve, but I’d say passing is my number one strength. As far as weaknesses, I’d probably say my shooting. I wouldn’t really call it a weakness, more just something that I need to improve on. In July, I wasn’t shooting from the outside very much and now I’m shooting it confidently and they’re going in.
PI: You weren’t really even shooting from range in July and now you’re making them...what’s led to that improvement in such a short period of time?
JG: I spoke to Marty Clark (Joshua’s head coach at NBA Academy) after July and that’s the thing we figured out I had to improve the most on, so me and Marty have been in the gym a lot. I give a lot of credit to him...we’ve been working heaps, so he’s developed it a lot.
PI: What is the most underrated part of your game?
JG: Underrated? I think my rebounding...as a guard. I’m a bigger guard, but there’s not a lot of guards that rebound a lot. I wouldn’t say I pride myself in it, but I try to get into it a little bit and as a bigger guard it’s a bit easier for me. I try to get on both the offensive and defensive glass.
PI: What position do you view yourself as?
JG: I’d say when I was home until I came up to the Academy I was a point guard...but since I’ve come here I’ve been a lot bigger than the other guards, so people kind of see me as a 3-man. I play one-through-four for the Academy. I’m just a playmaker.
PI: What type of system do you enjoy playing the most?
JG: I like transition kind of basketball...I mean set offense is alright, but when we’re out running, it’s fun.
PI: Why do you wear #6?
JG: My dad, he wore that number. He played professionally for 16 years in Australia, he has his jersey retired at the club I played at, so I mean ever since I started playing, that’s what I’ve worn.
PI: Of all the opponents you’ve played recently, who has been the toughest to matchup with?
JG: We played a kid two days ago named Daishen Nix. He’s going to UCLA, so he’s probably the toughest we’ve played so far. He’s a 6’5 built PG, he’s athletic, and he can shoot the ball, so he’s pretty tough to guard.
PI: Did anyone stand out to you amongst the NBA Academy rosters here in Vegas?
JG: Yes, Bennedict Mathurin from the Latin American team. I hadn’t really seen him play, but since the last time I’d seen him I feel like he’s taken his game to another level. He’s bigger, more athletic, can shoot and get to the rim, so he’s probably the most impressive. Mojave King is another one...he shoots the ball really well. Aly Khalifa, our big guy, as well. He’s gotten a lot better, he shoots the ball well and finishes at the rim. Great passer as well.
PI: What are your short and long term goals?
JG: Short term is to just keep improving and more than likely go to college. Long term is the NBA.
PI: Speaking of college, what all are you taking into consideration when you make that decision?
JG: I want to take some visits so I can get more knowledge into the college system and how it works. I took one visit already, so right now I’m leaning towards going to college. I went to visit Colorado, on an official visit. Before March, I’ll go on more official visits, probably take two or three more.
PI: What’s most important to you when making that decision and narrowing down schools?
JG: So probably having a relationship with the coaching staff, I’ve got a really good one in Colorado so that’s probably why I went there on my first official visit. The conference is a big thing for me, the exposure part, just playing against the better teams is a big thing for me...as well as my playing situation, so my role on the team, how I’ll fit in, that kind of thing.
PI: Do you watch more college or NBA basketball? Any specific teams or more players?
JG: NBA, for sure. I watch a lot of Luka Doncic, he’s my favorite. I wouldn’t say I model my game after him, but he’s someone I try to watch a lot of...to try and take parts of his game and implement them into mine.
PI: What do you look for when you watch him?
JG: He’s kind of like me. He’s not overly athletic or quick. He’s a bigger guard. I watch his playmaking, the way he finds teammates and gets others involved...that’s what I love about him.
PI: What does Joshua Giddey bring to a team regardless of the situation on and off the court?
JG: On the court I’ll always be bringing effort, regardless if my shot is falling, or not. I’ll always be getting on the glass, trying to get teammates involved, picking guys up, getting guys in huddles, trying to give high fives, that kind of thing. Off the court I’m a pretty chill guy...I hang out with the boys. Yeah, I’m a pretty chill guy off the court.
PI: How do you spend most of your time outside of basketball?
JG: A lot of the time I hang out with my friends...I’m on my phone a lot which is another thing. My most used apps are probably Snapchat and Instagram.
PI: Name four words that best describe you.
JG: Unselfish. Playmaker. Relaxed. Fun.
PI: What has been a defining moment in your life? Why has it stuck with you and what have you learned from it?
JG: I would probably say when I first came to the Academy in January, that was kind of when my life changed a little bit. Before then, no one knew me. I was just a kid from Melbourne. I had never represented my state or anything, so that was kind of the changing point in my life. Coming up here, I’ve gotten a lot better since then, so that’s probably it.
PI: Who or what is your biggest motivation in life?
JG: My dad, mom, and I’d say my teammates, as well. Every day they’re the ones I’m competing against so they’re making me better I’m making them better.
PI: Can you talk a little bit more about your family and what they mean to you?
JG: Family is everything to me. Dad and mom both played professionally. I grew up in a basketball family. My sisters all played, too. Yeah, so my family is everything. We’re all in it together. They all support me and I will always support them. I’ve got three sisters and I’m the second oldest. They all play back home in Melbourne where I played.
PI: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
JG: It’s pretty simple, but it’s from Marty Clark. He tells me “good shooters don’t worry about misses” because when I used to miss a shot I would be frustrated with myself and when I miss now it’s whatever...I don’t get mad, it’s just on to the next shot. I forget about it. This advice is simple, but it’s really stuck with me.
PI: At the end of the day what do you want to be remembered for?
JG: I want to be known as a role model for kids. I want to be known in the NBA, so I mean I don’t want to be one of those guys floating around from team to team, I want to be known. I want kids to look up to me.