Josh Giddey is Redefining his Sophomore Year

Josh Giddey #3 of the Oklahoma City Thunder . (Photo by Joshua Gateley/Getty Images)
Josh Giddey #3 of the Oklahoma City Thunder . (Photo by Joshua Gateley/Getty Images) /

There is no such thing as a sophomore slump for Josh Giddey. Instead, Giddey is taking a leap in his second year. As the playoff hunt intensifies for the OKC Thunder, Giddey has been showcasing the offensive juice some scouts failed to envision early in his NBA career.

The second year guard has averaged 17 points per game in March, including some monstrous numbers against the Los Angeles Lakers, where he dropped 27 points, 17 rebounds, and seven assists.

Josh Giddey is not having a second-year slump. Instead, he has been incredibly impressive.

While Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is the obvious leader of this facet, Giddey’s drives have proven to be an adequate valve of offense for OKC. He is second to SGA in points generated from drives at 6.6 this season. Splice that to his last 14 games, and his average ballooned to eight points off drives.

His effective field goal percentage is at a beyond decent 53 percent in the aforementioned stretch of games. This was a testament to how he picked his spots on the court and his controlled aggression in the offensive end.

Considering the Thunder’s playoff projection, that aggression is a necessity. He has taken 15 shots per night in the last 14 OKC matchups. His drives a game has also increased from his season average of 12 to 14.1 drives in the said stretch, which still ranks second behind SGA’s.

This must have been rooted to a developed confidence, especially on his shot. One metric that can correlate to this is his catch-and-shoot indicators. Giddey has upped his catch-and-shoot three rate from 33.1% across the season to 42.9% in his last 10 games.

This was unconcealed in the fourth quarter of the Thunder’s win against the Trail Blazers, which saw Josh Giddey drain a much-needed catch-and-shoot triple with 2:14 seconds left in the game to extend OKC’s lead to five and help seal the victory.

After a lackluster shooting start in the season, Giddey has averaged 35% from three across the last four months while his true shooting percentage has also improved this month, tallying in at 55 percent, up from his February’s rate of 50 percent in the true shooting percentage department.

His rebounding prowess — courtesy of his great use of his 6’8 frame — and passing wizardry have been on full display too, norming eight rebounds, and seven assists per contest in his last 14 games for the Thunder.

Giddey is leading the team on contested rebounds, and rebound chances on both ends of the floor. HIs knack of grabbing boards has not just been predicated on his innate length as his timing — which sometimes is lost in his game —, and elite feel of the game puts him in great situations to devour rebounds.

As a facilitator, Giddey has also ramped it up. He, by and large, triggers 53 passes per game in the Thunder’s last 10 games — by far, the most of any Thunder player in that spread. His assist points created is also on an excellent rate of 19, ratifying his playmaking nerves.

There was also an evident decrease in turnovers for Giddey as it dipped from three per game before the All-Star break to just two per outing after the All-Star weekend.

While these are brilliant gauges of what Josh Giddey is currently, his production in a playoff atmosphere remains to be seen. Nonetheless, his sophomore season has truly made him a cornerstone for the OKC Thunder franchise’s future.

Giddey’s offensive strides have been a huge boost in the Thunder’s playoff hopes and recent resurgence. How far can his game push the OKC Thunder in the postseason is still anyone’s guess.

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