Josh Giddey says he can’t wait to play for the Boomers alongside Ben Simmons, describing his fellow Australian as “one of the best players” in the NBA.
A year and a half after flaming out for the Philadelphia 76ers in the playoffs, Simmons has had an underwhelming start to the new season with the Brooklyn Nets and his much-criticised shooting ability doesn’t appear to have improved.
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Brooklyn’s win-loss record is 4-6 after 10 game but Simmons’ form is just one of several concerns for the Nets, who parted ways with coach Steve Nash and suspended Kyrie Irving for sharing a link to an anti-Semitic film on social media.
Giddey, who has “spoken a little bit” to Simmons, said the Australian-born star just needs time to get back into the swing of NBA following such a long lay-off.
“Obviously he was dealing with some stuff with Philly and then (made) a fresh start in Brooklyn,” Giddey said.
“People forget that Ben’s an All-Star. He was, I mean he is one of the best players in the league. He’s obviously going to need time find his feet, he hasn’t played for a long time in the NBA.
“I’m excited for what he can do and hopefully soon we can both be apart of the Boomers together and help Australia win a gold medal.”
Simmons recently declared he is “100 per cent” committed to playing for the Boomers at the next opportunity and Giddey is excited to link up with him at next year’s FIBA World Cup and the 2024 Paris Olympics.
“World Cup’s coming up next year and anything short of a gold medal we won’t be happy with,” Giddey said.
“I think the country’s finally at a point where we can confidently go into these tournaments with a gold medal on our mind. In previous years, it might have been the hope but how realistic it was I don’t know. It definitely was at the last Olympics and the last World Cup.
“But as time has evolved, the chances of gold have become more and more realistic. I think this is the time where Australian basketball has been as good as it’s ever been. The talent level that we have is elite.
“I’m really excited for the World Cup and more so the Olympics. I think that’s every player’s dream to win a gold medal there. I can’t wait for those tournaments.”
Giddey is only in his second season with the Oklahoma City Thunder but he is already arguably the most well known Australian playing in the NBA.
He has rocketed to stardom after his breakout rookie year and life has changed significantly for the 20-year-old.
“It has its perks, it also has its negatives,” Giddey said of his new-found fame.
“Obviously being an NBA player, it’s a global game so you’re naturally going to be watched by people around the world.
“When I come back home it’s great to have camps to be able to give back to the younger kids and interact with them. I was once one of those kids that loved to have NBA guys, the best NBL players come in and speak and learn from. That part of it’s great.
“But I guess you can’t do the same things that normal 19, 20-year-olds do these days, which is one of the things I wish I could do. Sometimes I wish I was just a regular kid who could go out and do normal things but life changed a bit since I was 16, 17.
“I wouldn’t change anything for the world. This is my dream so I’m happy with everything and how stuff’s going.”
Giddey has joined AFL stars Tom Mitchell, Patrick Cripps and Lachie Neale as a co-owner and content creator for the popular fitness and skills app Ball Magnets.
As the app’s first basketball ambassador, Giddey will provide insights, challenges drills, interviews and behind-the-scenes content that will give users unfiltered access to learning the art of basketball and what it takes to play at NBA level.
“There’s things for everybody, for all different levels whether you’ve just started basketball or you’re at a higher level,” Giddey said.
“You see a lot of kids these days when they practice, they try and just bomb up threes. Everyone wants to be Steph Curry when they’re 10 years old.
“There’s a lot of different things that I worked on when I was that age to get better, whether its ball handling, shooting drills, passing drills, dribbling on the move. So there’s a lot of things that kids can work on.
“I would have loved to have this opportunity when I was a kid to be able to learn from athletes at the highest levels of their respective sports. It’s an awesome opportunity for kids.”