Grading the OKC Thunder 2023 FIBA World Cup run

Josh Giddey #3 of Australia (Photo by Takashi Aoyama/Getty Images)
Josh Giddey #3 of Australia (Photo by Takashi Aoyama/Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
Josh Giddey of Australia (Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images) /

OKC Thunder star Josh Giddey had an impressive FIBA World Cup debut for Team Australia

The OKC Thunder selected Josh Giddey with the sixth overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft; after seeing bad luck on lottery night, Sam Presti made the most of it with a surprising choice at the time. Quickly, OKC Thunder fans realized why Josh Giddey was the selection (and why the Golden State Warriors had Giddey tabbed as their 7th overall pick had Presti passed).

In year two, Giddey improved for the OKC Thunder in every way, notably as a shooting threat and taking advantage of small matchups as the season went on, punishing them at the rim.

The 20-year-old has made no mistake about wanting to play for the Boomers, even expressing his disappointment in not getting to help the previous squad. He made the roster this year and was the Boomers’ best player.

Josh Giddey got to run the show for Team Australia, which led to him averaging a team-high 19 points, six assists, and five rebounds per game. Giddey shot 53 percent from the floor, 16 percent from deep, and 65 percent at the charity stripe.

Giddey improved in a few key areas, namely his Free Throw attempts, jumping to just over 5 per game from his 1.7 per game career average in the NBA. That helped boost his scoring total.

Then, as he flashed toward the end of last season, Giddey took advantage of his 6’8 frame and improved strength by barreling small guards toward the ring, where he converted 76 percent of the time.

Players often discuss how these International Summer runs have sparked break-out NBA seasons with newfound confidence, skills, and development. That could be the case for Josh Giddey based on how he played for the Boomers entering year three stateside.

Grade: A-. Sure, there were some things for Josh Giddey to clean up during his FIBA World Cup debut. However, the 20-year-old’s run featured a lot more good than bad. I mean, this massive slam alone earns him an A.

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