Do not sleep on Josh Giddey’s Sophomore season for the OKC Thunder

Josh Giddey #3 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Josh Giddey #3 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /

Josh Giddey is not an elite shooter yet. His shot did not turn as prolifically as Thunder fans would have irrationally hoped it to in a span of a season. His touch is not quite there yet.

Despite that, his jump from being a liability in the perimeter to a serviceable shooter is a commendable feat in and of itself. The beauty of this leap should not be understated, especially when it is one of the main reasons why the OKC Thunder is part of the play-in picture.

Season                        FG%        3-PT %        FT %          PPG

2022-2023               48.3         32.6           73.6          16.6
2021-2022               41.9         26.3           70.9          12.5

Do not sleep on the Sophomore leap from Josh Giddey.

The improvement has been apparent both on raw figures and the eye test. As a result, Giddey had a scoring boom this season, including some impressive offensive outputs. He scored 20+ points 19 times this season which takes in one 31-point game against the Hornets last week.

Although his three-point volume dipped from four per game to three, his efficiency on his overall field goals made increased by two makes after bumping his attempts per game from 12 in his rookie campaign to 14 this season

Giddey has now been more selective in hunting for better looks. He works through the gravity of All-Star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, generating catch-and-shoot looks, and some downhill baskets off cuts.

He is chucking three catch-and-shoot threes per game and drilling a decent 34 percent of them, a huge upgrade from a fairly horrendous 24 percent in his first season. Additionally, over 90 percent of his three-point baskets were assisted, attesting his confidence and built-up reliability in the realms of the Thunder’s offense.

His offensive jump has certainly been a combustible element that ignited the OKC Thunder’s surprise playoff hopes. He has recorded a 51 effective field goal percentage, and is at 53 percent true shooting throughout the season.

However, there is still a lot to be desired from the offensive side of the floor.

Top of the key threes are not his forte, shooting only 24 percent from that area, about 10 percent less than the league average. His shot from the left wing wasn’t impressive either, only making 28 percent of them relative to the league average of 36 percent.

His finishes inside the paint remain a scope for improvement. Giddey is nailing 55 percent of his shots in the paint which still falls behind the league average of 60 percent. Giddey’s blown layups across the season continue to haunt the Thunder in some instances.

On a positive note, Giddey is knocking down his tries from the right wing and corner areas. He is shooting 37 percent from the right wing three — an above average mark — while making 40 percent of his threes from both corners, albeit on a small sample size.

As his confidence increases through more reps, his numbers shall increase. For the meantime, the Thunder needs his offensive brilliance to shine down the stretch of the season. The bottomline remains that there is a lot to be optimistic about from Josh Giddey’s shooting evolution.

It’s easy to think that when he ultimately reaches his ceiling as a shooter, this young OKC Thunder core would reach its peak potential with another lethal offensive weapon at its disposal in Giddey.

The most important part for Josh Giddey will be time. A full offseason with legendary shooting coach Chip Engelland will do the 20-year-old wonders. While fans are often impatient, just listen to NBA legends praise the prized young guard.

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