Season Recap: Josh Giddey improved in year two

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Josh Giddey (3) Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Josh Giddey (3) Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports /

To way oversimplify Josh Giddey’s second season — and, to a larger degree his entire career — take a look at his performance in the Oklahoma City Thunder’s two Play-In games, the contests against the New Orleans Pelicans and the Minnesota Timberwolves.

How did Giddey score 31 in a must-win game against the Pelicans and follow up with a six-point performance in another win or go home scenario versus the Wolves? Sophomore or not, his performance in Minnesota was not up to par.

Season recap for year two guard Josh Giddey after taking a year two leap.

Over the summer, the Thunder coaching staff will over film from the play-in games and show Giddey what they want him to be, need him to be, and know he can be. Giddey is still just 20 year’s old with plenty of time to grow into the player everyone thinks he can be.

More times than not, Giddey falls somewhere in the middle of those two play-in tilts, not quite as great as his 31-point game in New Orleans, but certainly not as bad as his six-point outing in Minnesota.

However, because Giddey was picked sixth-overall, one would hope he puts together more quality performances, than lackluster ones. Fair or unfair, the higher you are picked the higher the expectations.

To this point, Giddey is the second-highest draft pick since the Thunder began their rebuild, and the highest draft pick to see minutes on the court.

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In OKC’s final game of the year, the moment seemed too big for Giddey and the Thunder as a whole. Perfectly, acceptable for this squad, the youngest team in the league, and the second youngest in league history.

Next year will be different though. The OKC Thunder got valuable experience down the stretch of the regular season and during the NBA Play-In tournament, and hopefully will take another leap.

Super Fun Stats

There is an old phrase that states “The facts are the facts.”  Well with Josh Giddey we should change the phrase to “The stats are the stats.”  For Giddey to be as young as he is, he already possesses some eye-popping numbers and accolades.

Prior to the season, I predicted Josh Giddey would rank in the top-10 in total assists, but that prediction did not pan out. Giddey finished tied for 17th in assists per game at six and he finished 16th in the association with 469 total assists in 76 games. Giddey’s total assists increased from his rookie campaign, up from 345 in 54 games.

Giddey also joined an elite list of company, moving up on the list for the most triple-doubles by a player 20-years-of-age or younger. He tied Magic Johnson for the second most with seven, the two guards trail only Luka Doncic who recorded a whopping 21 triple-doubles before his 21st birthday.

Giddey’s shooting also improved as the season went on, he nearly improved his overall shooting percentage each month as the season went on, except for a few outliers including April where he only played in three games. His 3-point shooting on the other hand, was more streaky, seeing improvements in percentage, but also drops as well, therefore consistency will be key heading into the 2023-24 season.

The Outlook Ahead

It cannot be stressed enough what an enormous off-season this is for Giddey, he has the talent, and he has shown flashes of how good he can be. He made massive strides with his shot this past season, thanks in large part to the Thunder’s new shooting coach Chip Engelland.

Another off-season working with the famed coach should only further improve and hone Giddey’s shooting skills.

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