Josh Giddey projected to soar in NBA draft

·2-min read

Josh Giddey could be the first international player selected in the 2021 NBA draft after the Adelaide 36ers' guard nominated on Wednesday.

Fresh off becoming the youngest Australian to notch an NBL triple-double, the 18-year-old is ranked 13th in ESPN's projected top-100 NBA draft rankings.

But with his stocks continuing to rise on the back of a solid NBL debut season - he's averaging 11 points, 7.1 rebounds and a league-best 7.4 assists - he could climb even higher.

Scouts from the Toronto Raptors arrived in Australia to watch the 202cm talent's historic performance against the New Zealand Breakers, Giddey then making his entry into July's draft list official.

"At the start of the year I wasn't sure where my draft stock was at but the people around me, we spoke and (figured now) it's at a point where I'm going to be taken somewhere," he said.

"Surreal is probably the best way to describe it ... it still doesn't feel real and whether I go No.1 or No.30, just being in the NBA's a dream of mine."

He's tracking similarly to LaMelo Ball, who impressed in the NBL for the Illawarra Hawks last season before going at No.3 in the NBA draft, then quickly establishing himself as a rookie of the year contender before fracturing his wrist.

"I was tossing and turning about whether to go to college or stay here and play (in the NBL)," Giddey said.

"Being able to stay home in front of friends and family, playing in a grown man's league ... was going to benefit me in the long run. I think it's really excelled my development."

A gifted passer and versatile defender, Giddey views himself as a similar package to NBA All-Stars Luka Doncic and Ben Simmons, who he could play alongside for the Boomers at the Tokyo Olympics later this year.

And he's remained in regular touch with Utah Jazz sharp-shooter Joe Ingles, who like Giddey began his journey to the world's best league as a teenager in the NBL.

"He's walked in my shoes," Giddey said of Ingles.

"And it's hard to compare myself to two of the best players in the world (in Simmons and Doncic) at this point but they're two I love and try to model my game around.

"They are bigger guards, love passing the ball but to say I'm the next Ben or Luka is a big thing to say."