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2021 NBA Draft Prospect Profiles: Josh Giddey

Should the Grizzlies trade up for the Australian sensation?

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NBL Rd 17 - Sydney v Adelaide Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Over the next month, GBB will be profiling various players the Memphis Grizzlies may target in the 2021 NBA Draft. This year we will be breaking it up in to three sections - five to likely trade up for, five potentially available right around pick #17 where Memphis is slotted to pick, and five that surely will be there or perhaps the Grizzlies could even trade back and still select.

Next in our trade up targets is the Australian phenomenon Josh Giddey.

Josh Giddey, Guard, Adelaide (Australia)

  • 6’8”, 205 lbs (6’7.5 wingspan), 18 years old, from Melbourne, Australia
  • Last season with Adelaide - 32.1 minutes per game, 10.8 points per game on 42.5% shooting (29.3% from beyond the arc, 69.1% from the free throw line), 7.4 rebounds, 7.4 assists, 1.1 steals
  • ADVANCED STATS OF STRENGTH (per Tankathon): 2.25 assist to usage rate ratio, 2.24 assist to turnover ratio
  • ADVANCED STATS TO IMPROVE - True Shooting (50.6%), Free Throws Attempted Rate (.256), Projected NBA 3 Point Percentage (33.5%)
  • AWARDS AND ACCOLADES - 2021 NBL Rookie of the Year
  • CURRENT BIG BOARD PLACEMENTS - 9th Overall (Tankathon), 14th Overall (Ringer), 11th Overall (ESPN), 12th Overall (CBS Sports), 15th Overall (The Athletic)

Josh Giddey is one of the more intriguing lottery prospects in this year’s draft. Typical with overseas prospects, there’s a fairly wide range of where people have Giddey on their big boards. Despite the variance on where he lands on big boards, Giddey is likely to land in the later lottery, which would save the Grizzlies a first round pick or asset compared to the trade scenario Site Manager Joe Mullinax included in his Scottie Barnes profile. Giddey’s unique size, partnered with his elite playmaking and rebounding, makes him an interesting fit for a ton of the teams in lottery.

It’s hard to really know where Giddey could fall, as teams could let him slide since they don’t have a ton of film on him, or a rebuilding team may take a swing at his upside and hope that it works out like various other foreign prospects have done over the last few seasons.

Regardless, it’s not likely Giddey falls all the way to #17 to the Grizzlies. With that being the case, is it worth it for the Grizzlies to make a move up to select Giddey?

What he does well

NBL Rd 18 - Sydney v Adelaide Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Playmaking is the name of Giddey’s game. In his one season in the NBL, Giddey flashed how he can manipulate the defense with his ability to change his pace and create passing lanes. Giddey is an extremely accurate passer, with the ability to pass the ball with both his left and right hand. Although he’s Australian and not European, watching Giddey pass the ball reminds me of those Ricky Rubio videos from so long ago. Put simply, Giddey’s ability to dish the ball and create open opportunities for his teammates will be a key element of when he gets drafted.

Giddey also possesses the size to be an elite rebounder for a guard and making him a nightly triple-double threat. He can come out of nowhere to steal rebounds from the opposing team and is always a threat to take the ball coast to coast on fast break opportunities. Giddey’s ability to crash the glass from the guard spot is an appealing attribute of his game. When he’s not passing or rebounding the ball, he’s attacking the basket and flashing his ability to make tough finishes at the rim.

Where he can improve

NBL Rd 17 - Sydney v Adelaide Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Giddey lacks a key element to today’s NBA: a 3-point shot. Giddey wasn’t a great shooter in the NBL and doesn’t project to be a great shooter at the NBA level. The lack of a jump shot will hurt Giddey in the NBA as it will allow defenses to sag off of him and block his passing lanes and his drives to the basket. The form in his shot isn’t great, and it’s a fairly slow shot for a guard. Giddey will need to improve and at least become serviceable from beyond the arc to make the defense respect him.

Giddey will also likely struggle his first few seasons as he grows into his tall but lanky frame. He has the size, but he’s a bit small and will likely get overpowered against bigger guards.

The fit

NBL Rd 17 - Sydney v Adelaide Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Josh Giddey is an interesting fit with the Memphis Grizzlies. The Grizzlies already have their point guard in Ja Morant, but Giddey may not need to play point guard at the NBA level. Giddey’s 6’8” frame could allow him to play multiple positions in the NBA, similar to Kyle Anderson who played PG at UCLA but has been a forward his entire NBA career.

Still, with the lack of a jump shot, Giddey’s fit with the Grizzlies becomes murky. Whether it’s with the starters or the bench unit, there aren’t a ton of lineups involving Giddey that don’t lack a lot of space. The 3-pointer is critical in today’s NBA, and the Grizzlies need more shooting on their roster.

Tyus Jones may not be the Grizzlies backup point guard much longer, but the Grizzlies may retry the Justise Winslow experiment backing up Ja Morant, or could even have Kyle Anderson facilitate that role. As great as Jones has been with the Grizzlies second unit, Giddey’s ability to create open looks would go a long way in getting a bench unit that often struggles at creating their own shot some open looks. Giddey could also be a potential Kyle Anderson replacement, if things don’t work after his contract expires next season.

The verdict

NBL Rd 18 - Sydney v Adelaide Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Josh Giddey has a chance to slide a bit in the draft, where the Grizzlies could make a move up without giving up a ton of assets. It’s difficult to tell who would be an ideal Giddey landing spot, but you’re potentially going to try and jump ahead of the Spurs at 12th overall, due to their flirtations with foreign prospects and ability to turn them into great players. New Orleans at #10 could view Giddey as a potential Lonzo Ball replacement, while Sacramento could value Giddey’s positional flexibility and slot him in various lineups. The Wizards at #15 could be a Giddey landing spot as they need some help alongside Westbrook and Beal.

The real issue comes down to Giddey’s fit with the Grizzlies. His fit simply isn’t good enough to warrant trading up to draft. The Grizzlies may end up trading up in the draft, but it is more likely they select another prospect we are covering this week at Grizzly Bear Blues than Giddey. Even if Giddey slips all the way to the Grizzlies at #17, I’m not confident they’ll select Giddey depending on who else is available.

Giddey slips some in the draft but is selected before the Grizzlies are on the clock. Even with a trade up, the Grizzlies make a move with someone else in mind.

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