- This is the sixth installment of a series breaking down the potential selections for both the Kings and Warriors in the 2021 NBA Draft.
The march to the draft is upon us. Less than three weeks from now the NBA will hold its annual event, which could make or break more than a few teams.
For one of the few times in recent memory, the Warriors and Kings select in the same draft range, which means that they can impact each other’s draft strategy dramatically.
Next up on the list is Australian star Josh Giddey, who is scheduled to go somewhere between No. 9 and No. 15 on draft night.
Stats: 10.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, 7.5 assists, 1.1 steals, 42.7% FG, 29.3% 3-point FG
Age: 18 Height: 6-foot-8 Weight: 205 Wingspan: 6-foot-8
Giddey is one of the more intriguing prospects outside of the group of five or six players expected to go at the top of the upcoming draft. He’s a point guard with tremendous skill and the size to play two or three positions at the NBA level.
The 18-year-old is still trying to refine his offensive game, but he is a high level distributor and he fills the statsheet. He scored in double-figures in 18 of his 28 games this season in Australia, with a high of 19 against Brisbane. He also posted three triple-doubles and 12 double-doubles, many of which came late in the season as he became better acclimated to the league.
Giddey is one of the better distributors in this year’s draft. Despite his age, he managed to notch a 7.5-to-3.3 assist-to-turnover ratio this season and he has plenty of room to grow in this area. He can sling passes all over the court with either hand and he has excellent court vision.
He’s flashy with the ball in his hands and always has his head up looking for the open man. He can play in the two-man game, create for others in the half court and he loves to hit the outlet pass to set up the break.
As a scorer, Giddey needs plenty of refinement, but he has tools to work with. He’s more crafty than anything else and there is a chance for him to improve in almost every aspect of the game due to his tremendous feel for the game.
Early in his career, he can be used as a primary ball handler and distributor, regardless of position. He needs to add strength and refine his body if he wants to compete against elite athletes at the NBA level, but there is potential for him to play the one through three, although he doesn’t have great length.
Giddey isn’t afraid to mix it up with the trees and hit the glass. He averaged 6.2 defensive rebounds and 1.1 offensive rebounds in 32.1 minutes per game. He finished the season averaging 1.1 steals and 0.5 blocks per game as well.
Giddey has really good size, but he has a limited wingspan, his body needs a ton of work and he isn't an elite athlete. If he stays at the point, he’ll need to work on his quickness. If moves to the two or three, he’ll need to get stronger to hold his position.
While he has a tremendous feel for the game, he needs to refine his mechanics as a shooter if he is going to keep defenders honest. His inconsistency as a shooter is an issue, but he’s shown flashes of potential and his percentages are better than what LaMelo Ball put up in the ABL a year ago.
He was able to get to the line 2.4 times per game and knocked down 69.1 percent from the stripe. For a player with a heavy usage, he needs to continue to grow in this area.
On the defensive end, there are concerns about where Giddey fits. He has good instincts, but without elite quickness, length or strength, he might be a liability early in his career.
Fit with Warriors
Giddey is a stretch at No. 7, but if he falls and the Warriors decide to keep the No. 14 pick, this is the type of high IQ player they should hone in on. He has the ability to play multiple positions, create for others and he stuffs the statsheet.
On the downside, the Warriors value shooters and Giddey isn’t there yet. He has potential to play off the ball, but it will take time and a major commitment from the franchise to develop and refine his perimeter game.
Could Giddey work in a lineup with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson? Could he play the role that Shaun Livingston held down as a leader of the second unit until he matures as a player? Could he be a major player to pair with James Wiseman for the future?
This is an incredibly intriguing prospect with an unknown ceiling. He could easily fill one role in Golden State now with potential to be a much bigger piece in two or three years.
Fit with Kings
The Kings already have De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton in the backcourt, so drafting a player like Giddey would be with the understanding that he would need to play the small forward spot to maximize his value in Sacramento.
His inability to consistently knock down shots from the perimeter is a concern for the Kings’ spacing, but there is potential for him to develop, especially if he spends time playing off the ball.
There are plenty of players for general manager Monte McNair to choose from at pick No. 9, but Giddey has one of the highest ceilings of the lot. Two or three years down the road, he could be a player who outplays his draft position and becomes a long-term rotational fixture.
High end: Bigger Ricky Rubio, Lonzo Ball
Low end: Shaun Livingston, Evan Turner