Aussie teenager's NBA dream becomes reality

1 month ago 17
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Australian teenager Josh Giddey's NBA dream has become a reality, selected sixth overall by the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA draft.

Giddey, 18, was named NBL Rookie of the Year last season and will make more than $5 million in his first year in the league having secured a place in the top ten picks.

The Aussie will join a team with plenty of youth and could form a strong combination with rising star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in the back-court and was was branded the best passer in this year's Draft.

Giddey becomes the first player from the NBA Global Academy, based at the Australian Institute of Sport, to become a first-round pick.

It was widely thought the Australian would go to the Golden State Warriors or Memphis Grizzlies but Oklahoma City Thunder GM Sam Presti pulled the trigger.

"First it's a dream come true so to be taken by the Thunder and to have them want me on their team it makes me feel really special and I couldn't be happier," Giddey told reporters after being drafted.

"The pre-draft process was good. Oklahoma is actually one of my favourite teams and to be picked by them it's a dream come true. So, love the guys, the coaches, the staff on the team and really happy to be there.

"I was talking to Sam [Presti] and the rest of the staff and coaches and stuff like that and just the way they talked and told me about how they want to lift their program and the direction they're headed in, it was something I wanted to be a part of,"

Giddey averaged 10.8 points, 7.4 rebounds, 7.4 assists and 1.1 steals for the Adelaider 36ers in the NBL last season.

Josh Giddey joins a young team in the Thunder. (Getty)

He joins an elite list of Aussie players in Luc Longley, Ben Simmons, Dante Exum, Thon Maker and Andrew Bogut to be selected inside the top 10.

"To follow on from the guys we have had go through the NBA, it means a lot to me and I looked up to those guys for a long time and I speak to them and try and get advice from them and I was watching them on TV, I'm big fans of theirs," he added.

"Even two years ago I was watching their highlights and trying to get them to reply to my Instagram messages and all that stuff. So, following in their footsteps being drafted in the NBA, it's really special.

"The Australian basketball community is really tight. So, to have those guys by my side and supporting me through this whole process has been really good for me."

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