Entering his sophomore season in the NBA, Josh Giddey had much to smile about looking back at his rookie campaign, which saw him enter the record books.
From being the youngest player in NBA history to record a triple-double to being the first rookie since Oscar Robertson (1960-61) to record the feat three games in a row, Giddey announced himself to the league as an offensive threat with passing and playmaking skills that are well beyond his years.
MORE: Watch Josh Giddey ‘Record-Breaking Rookie’ documentary on the NBA App
With his first season in the books, Giddey spent the summer working on his game in both the US and Australia, keying in on his shooting after connecting on just 26.3 percent of his 3s last season.
To do that, he enlisted the help of renowned shooting coach Chip Engelland, who before joining the Thunder, previously spent 17 seasons with the San Antonio Spurs. Engelland has an impressive history of refining jump shots — working with the likes of Kawhi Leonard and Dejounte Murray — and Giddey is already feeling the impact.
“I’m feeling much more confident and comfortable,” Giddey said of his improvements from beyond the arc.
“Obviously it was a big emphasis this offseason to work on the 3-ball and shooting in general and [the Thunder] hiring Chip was massive for me.”
A six-game sample size isn’t much to go off, but the difference in Giddey’s confidence in putting up shots from beyond the arc is already noticeable. He has shot over 50 percent from 3 in three of his six games this season and on opening night, he launched seven triples against the Timberwolves.
Last season, he only attempted more than seven 3s in two games.
“I knew that shooting was what I need to work on and there’s really no better person to work on it with than Chip and we’ve been together pretty much every day since he’s been in Oklahoma.
“He’s been great with me. He’s awesome to be around and he has had a big impact on my improvement so far.
“It’s only early into the season, but I’m feeling good. I’m feeling confident early, so hopefully, we can continue this through the season. But he’s been awesome for me, love working with him and he’s a great guy to be around.”
Coming off his first full NBA offseason of work, Giddey has not only refined his workouts and drills, but he’s making them available for others to follow.
The 20-year-old is teaming up with AFL stars Tom Mitchell (Collingwood), Lachie Neale (Brisbane), and 2021 Brownlow medal winner Patrick Cripps (Carlton), joining forces on a new app, Ball Magnets.
Ball Magnets, for which Giddey is a co-owner and content creator, is a free training and development app focused on inspiring kids to work on their skills on the football field and with Giddey’s addition to the lineup, basketball becomes the second sport available on the platform.
“You see a lot of kids these days, when they practice, they try and just bomb up 3s and everyone wants to be Steph Curry when they’re 10 years old,” Giddey added.
“I can show you a little insight into how I train and what I do to kind of prepare myself at the highest level.”
From his day-to-day training and skill-focused workouts, Giddey says getting the fundamentals right is the message he wants to send to kids looking to improve their game.
“It’s really important, drills that I would do when I was 10 years old, I still do to this day now,” he said.
“So just little ball handling drills, shooting drills, little things like that, that I used to work on it every day when I was little, I still do now and that’s kind of what I’ll be showing kids. How I used to train back then and what I do now.”
“Whether you’re just starting basketball or you’re at a higher level, there are things for everybody. So drills skills for all types of kids, different skill levels, and different ages. It’ll be awesome for these kids to be able to see some of the things that I do.”
You can check out the Ball Magnets app here.