NBA: US coach gives Aussie teen Josh Giddey ultimate praise
Oklahoma City Thunder fans are obsessed with Josh Giddey, and now the young Aussie has earnt a huge compliment from his coach.
The Oklahoma City Thunder looks to 19-year-old Aussie rookie Josh Giddey as a calming influence, according to the NBA side’s coach.
After succumbing to the biggest defeat in NBA history in his absence, the Thunder has now won both games since Giddey returned from a bout of the flu, including Thursday’s 110-109 thriller against the Toronto Raptors.
The reigning Western Conference Rookie of the Month recorded eight assists and scored 13 points in the Thunder’s last-gasp win, proving especially impressive from the three-point line.
Known more for his incisive passing game than his shooting from downtown, Giddey may well have spent his sick days watching Patty Mills’ highlights reel – the Aussie Brooklyn Nets guard is the fourth-most accurate player from deep so far this season.
But Giddey’s influence wasn’t just evident on the stats sheet, according to Thunder coach Mark Daigneault.
“We had some playmakers on the court tonight. Giddey teed up that three, that was a huge shot,” said Daigneault, referencing a crucial assist Giddey pulled off in the final minutes of the game.
“We put Josh back in the game with five minutes to go and he settled us.”
The NBA’s youngest side reaffirmed its status as the comeback kids of the Western Conference by turning a 10-point halftime deficit into a nine-point lead at the final change.
The Raptors were up for the fight, though, clawing back to level the scores with just under a minute to play.
A three-pointer from Giddey’s teammate Mike Muscala won the game for the Thunder.
Muscala’s three gave the Thunder a one-point lead with nine seconds to play, but Justin Champagnie looked to have rained on the Thunder’s parade by batting a rebound into the basket.
On review, match officials ruled that the buzzer had beaten Champagnie, though, and the Thunder was home in the most dramatic of circumstances.
Things could’ve been very different had Giddey not been on deck to settle the troops.
Originally published as NBA: US coach gives Aussie teen Josh Giddey ultimate praise