Thunder Select Australian Josh Giddey With Sixth Overall Pick, Execute Trades In 2021 NBA Draft


Thursday, July 29th 2021, 11:36 pm
By: Nate Kotisso


OKLAHOMA CITY -

In an early draft surprise, the Oklahoma City Thunder selected Australian guard Josh Giddey with the franchise’s first NBA Draft lottery pick in five years.

Giddey, who is 18 years old and hails from Melbourne, is OKC’s first lottery pick since the Thunder chose Domantas Sabonis with the 11th pick in 2016. 

He is also the first graduate of Australia's NBA Academy selected in the NBA Draft.

Giddey played for a mediocre Adelaide 36ers club in 2020-21 (according to Basketball Reference, the 36ers finished 13-23), but he posted some impressive numbers in his age-18 season.

Despite his 6-foot-8 frame, Giddey is most certainly a point guard. He averaged almost as many assists (7.5) as he did rebounds (7.4) on a 32.1 minute average in 28 games.

According to CBSSports.com basketball writers Gary Parrish, Kyle Boone and Colin Ward-Henninger, they projected Giddey to be drafted as high as 10th overall to New Orleans and as low as 14th overall to the Golden State Warriors.

ESPN NBA reporter Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Thunder traded its 16th overall pick to the Houston Rockets. OKC will reportedly receive two future first round selections from the Rockets via the Detroit Pistons and Washington Wizards.

The Thunder selected Florida guard Tre Mann with the 18th overall pick. Mann averaged 16.0 points and 5.6 rebounds in his final season for the Gators.

After 10 p.m. Thursday, OKC reportedly executed another trade when it sent the rights to its 34th and 36th overall picks to the New York Knicks for the 32nd pick.

The Thunder selected Villanova power forward Jeremiah Robinson-Earl with the No. 32 pick. Robinson-Earl led the Wildcats in scoring (15.7), rebounding (8.5) and two-point field goal percentage (57.4 percent) during the 2020-21 season.

The Knicks settled on Lithuania guard Rokas Jokubaitis at 34 and West Virginia guard Miles McBride at 36.

Oklahoma City wrapped up its draft Thursday when it selected Maryland's Aaron Wiggins at 55th overall. Wiggins is best described as a 3-and-D player out on the wing.