3 Hidden Benefits of OKC Thunder players participating in FIBA World Cup

Josh Giddey poses during an Australian Boomers (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
Josh Giddey poses during an Australian Boomers (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

OKC Thunder guards Josh Giddey and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander getting to lead their own teams is key for development.

As part of the 2023 FIBA World Cup, the OKC Thunder will see Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey leading the way for their respective countries. Each bench boss has praised the pair’s ability to lead the way in that top-priority ball-handling role—a responsibility they share with the OKC Thunder.

Obviously, with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander being a 31-point-per-game scorer, he is going to get the lion’s share of the on-ball opportunities. However, the beauty of Gilgeous-Alexander’s game is his ability to play off the ball with one of the best young playmakers in the NBA, Josh Giddey. Figuring out the ratio of on-and-off ball duties for that tandem will continue to be a work in process, which has improved month-by-month since Josh Giddey was selected by the OKC Thunder 6th overall in 2021.

Josh Giddey will be able to run the show on the Australian team, and in so, he will be able to develop his ability to get to the basket, score, and of course, play make to the fellow NBA players on his roster.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who has already had more experience running the show at the NBA level, but even more time on the ball working with on-the-fly put-together lineups, will still be fun to watch for OKC Thunder fans.

Ultimately, gaining experience to lead their respective teams can only strengthen the duo, with training camp right around the corner.