The Toronto Raptors have had a strange season. They had health and safety protocols that completely reversed their roster, not to mention the starting lineup all season. And they had to play Tampa, Florida instead of Toronto, Canada all season.
The Raptors sit in the 12th seed in the Eastern Conference with a 26-36 record, and they are expected to finish in the 2021 NBA Draft lottery.
The front office is trying to both play-in and scout the draft, in particular a certain 6’8 “point guard from the Australian NBL, Josh Giddey.
The Raptors are one of two teams to send a scout to Australia. The Golden State Warriors sent Michael Lee will watch their 54th overall pick in 2020 and Draft and Stash player Justinian Jessup.
The reason this is newsworthy is that the Australian government requires any international traveler to self-quarantine for 14 days in a hotel before entering the country. This means that if you send someone to Australia (and away for at least three weeks), the team must be really interested in the prospect.
The nearly month-long trip deterred many teams from sending scouts to the NBL this season. ESPN’s Jonathan Givony explained in a recent podcast:
“People just couldn’t see it live, the two week quarantine to enter Australia is pretty much a deal breaker for NBA executives.”
NBL’s Liam Santamaria said on the show that the Raptors sent a scout to watch Josh Giddey. Sources told HoopsHabit.com that the scout is Raptors World Scouting Director Patrick Engelbrecht.
So who is Josh Giddey? And why would the Toronto Raptors want him in the NBA Draft?
Josh Giddey is a 6’8 “Australian point guard and plays in the NBL for the Adelaide 36ers.
His best skill by far is his game, Giddey at 18 and six months old is already leading the league in assists. After round 15, Giddey is averaging 11 points per game, 7.1 rebounds per game and 7.4 assists per game (league leader) 31.0% against three on 3.6 attempts.
Josh Giddey’s offense grew significantly throughout the season, heading into the NBL season in December he was thrown 48th by ESPN, mainly due to his inability to shoot.
Now, after months of playing in a professional league and system, Giddey has exploded as a dynamic offensive weapon.
He is able to finish around the basket and reach his positions faster, he loves mid-distance pull-ups and can get a clean shot with his height, which is well above average for his position.
His newfound shooting ability has helped him become an effective threat on the half court, and with his size and vision he is a dangerous pick and roll partner. Some of the passes he throws are absolutely ridiculous – in the same vein as Ben Simmons and Luka Doncic.
In midfield he slows down play and is great at reading and reacting to defense, in midfield he pushes the tempo and forces defense to crumble, and allows Giddey to play the right play every time.
His rapid development on the offensive pushed him to draft boards, Giddey was thrown to ninth place by Bleacher Report.
In his last 10 games, Giddey has averaged 12.7 points per game, 8.2 rebounds per game and 9.8 assists per game, shooting 40.4% of three in 4.2 attempts.
Giddey may be your primary playmaker going forward, which contrasts slightly with the Raptors signing by Fred VanVleet for a big expansion.
However, if the Raptors are desperate to have him, he would work perfectly as a side playmaker in starting lineups or as a primary or secondary playmaker on the bench (depends on how Malachi Flynn develops as a shooter) .
Giddey has work to do defensively, he’s straight up when defending allowing faster guards to get past him. And his shooting, turnovers and athleticism (which is good, but not dynamic at the NBL level) will always be questions for front offices in the pre-draft process.
Giddey has ten more games to play before the NBL season ends, and after that I’ll write a full profile on him – so if you’re interested in learning more about him, stick around.
Josh Giddey would fit in well, but not perfectly in this Raptors team. They should be looking for a pure goalscorer and a great man in the NBA Draft. But, if Giddey is on the board of directors where the Toronto Raptors are currently screened, there’s a good chance they’ll take him.