Updated: Apr 1
For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present NBA Global Academy guard Joshua Giddey, from Melbourne, Australia:
Pro 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?