Whether it's superstars like Luka Doncic and LeBron James, an up-and-comer like LaMelo Ball or successful vets like Khris Middleton and Joe Ingles, 6-foot-8 playmakers are NBA gold. They come in all different shapes, with varying levels of success, but the emergence of that prototype is a big reason a prospect such as Cade Cunningham is so highly coveted.
While the 2021 NBA draft has been lauded for its incredible star power toward the top, there's a jumbo playmaker projected outside the top five who fits the modern NBA perfectly. Meet 6-foot-8 Australian point guard Josh Giddey, a potential top-10 pick who just completed a record-breaking season in the Australian NBL for the Adelaide 36ers.
With three triple-doubles in his past six games, Giddey is now averaging 13.8 points, 9.2 rebounds and 9.4 assists per 40 minutes through 27 games, rarefied stats for an 18-year-old prospect at any level of professional basketball. Giddey recently joined Ball as the only 18-year-olds in NBL history to record back-to-back triple-doubles, while reminding some NBA evaluators of fellow Aussie great Ingles.
"I heard him say in an interview that he compares himself to me a little bit, and I was like, dude, you're crazy, because you're so much f---ing better than I was at that age," Ingles told ESPN with a laugh.
Giddey isn't a carbon copy of Ingles. Nor is he expected to follow in Ball's path by going in the top three and posting a Rookie of the Year-type season. Still, Giddey has the clear attention of NBA scouts and is the favorite to be the first international prospect drafted in 2021. How did Giddey get to this point? Are the Ingles comps underselling his NBA outlook? What type of player can he be at the next level?