Home » ‘Enough of that s**t’: Giddey’s raw admission over ‘killer’; rising star’s cheeky dig — Aussies in the NBA

‘Enough of that s**t’: Giddey’s raw admission over ‘killer’; rising star’s cheeky dig — Aussies in the NBA

Josh Giddey has endured a tough third season in the NBA and opened up on the learning process in a recent interview ahead of the playoffs.

Speaking of which, there could be up to seven Australians featuring in the post-season this year, so what could their roles look like?

Below foxsports.com.au looks at how all the Australians in the NBA have been tracking in recent weeks.

Watch an average of 9 NBA Regular Season games per week LIVE on ESPN, available via Kayo. New to Kayo? Start Your Free Trial Today >

NBA Wrap: Curry & KD rewrite record book | 02:56


It still remains to be seen just how heavily Giddey will factor into Oklahoma City’s plans in the playoffs but the Australian is doing his chances of earning a prominent role no harm recently.

In case you’ve missed Thunder games this season, NBA teams have made little secret of their strategy to either sag off Giddey completely beyond the arc or at most put a big on the young guard.

Sure, Giddey has made them pay from time to time but largely it is a sacrifice worth making if it means clogging the paint and the ability of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jalen Williams to get clean looks at the rim.

But recently Giddey has started to look more like himself again, averaging 13.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.6 assists this month while shooting a solid 34.3 per cent from beyond the arc.

Josh Giddey has been playing well recently. (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

The outside shooting hasn’t always been there like it was in a loss to Milwaukee on Monday, where Giddey went 4-for-6 from downtown to actually force the Bucks to start closing in on him.

But both Giddey and the Thunder have come up with different ways for him to make an impact without the ball in his hands, most notably using the Australian as a screener more.

It wasn’t something coach Mark Daigneault had given much thought to before this season but OKC had to be flexible given the new way rival teams were defending Giddey.

“He’s doing a great job with that,” Daigneault told The Oklahoman’s Joel Lorenzi.

“And being open to that and understanding that that’s his path forward when he gets played like that, and that’s what’s best for the group when he’s on the court getting guarded like that.”

Full strength Bucks dominate OKC | 00:56

What was most pleasing from Giddey’s standout game against Milwaukee, where he had 15 points in the first half alone, was the confidence in which he was shooting when given an open look.

There was no hesitation, no suggestion that the missed shots or way teams were defending him was getting to him. It has been a learning experience for Giddey though.

“It ain’t a secret,” Giddey told Lorenzi in a raw interview earlier this month.

“It certainly takes its toll. You start to question yourself and you see things on social media. As much as I try to stay off of it, it’s hard to ignore and you start to buy into it a little bit.

“When you see enough of that s***, you start to believe it, and that’s a tough thing to deal with. And I’ve tried to avoid it as much as I can, but [it] kind of naturally just finds its way back to me.

“Sometimes it can be a confidence killer. Seeing a big guard gap you and daring you to shoot the ball. But you have to stay confident. You have to trust it because the second you don’t, they win and it falls into their hands.”

If Giddey fell into the trap he would also have likely seen his minutes reduced as Oklahoma City leaned more heavily on new acquisition Gordon Hayward.

But Hayward, who the Thunder traded for at the deadline, hasn’t shot at nearly the same volume as Giddey and hasn’t done enough as it stands to pose a significant threat to his minutes in the playoffs.

That could of course change given Hayward’s post-season experience while opposition teams may only target Giddey even more heavily too.

More games like the one against the Bucks though will continue to build Giddey’s confidence as OKC prepares for its first playoff run with this young group.

“He got off to a really good start, made some shots and played well, especially in that first stretch,” coach Daigneault said after the loss to the Bucks.

“That was a bright spot tonight but obviously we needed the team to play like that.”

BEN SIMMONS (Brooklyn Nets)

Nothing new to report on Simmons, who earlier this month was ruled out for the remainder of the season before undergoing surgery for the nerve impingement in his lower back.

It casts even more uncertainty over his playing future as Simmons enters the final year of his contract with the Nets on an expiring $40 million salary.

What direction Brooklyn goes in from that point is unclear at this stage, although Erik Slater, a reporter from Clutch Points and host of Bleav in Nets, told foxsports.com.au a buyout is unlikely.

What is next for Ben Simmons? Mike Lawrie/Getty Images/AFPSource: AFP

“Nobody’s going to want to sign Ben, he’s not a player that is going to have that much interest, I feel, on the market,” Slater said.

“This is his last big contract, so there’s no reason for him to leave money on the table. That should rule out a buyout.”

Instead, the more likely scenario is that the Nets let Simmons’ contract expire and free up cap space to take a swing at one of the league’s big-name free agents in 2025.

Otherwise, they could look at making a trade that would send a host of role players to Brooklyn in exchange for Simmons, whose expiring contract would be appealing to a team looking to get off long-term money on their books.

“If I had to guess right now, I would think the overwhelmingly likely scenario is that they just let him expire,” Slater said.

“It’ll ultimately depend on how teams are viewing their cap sheet and who’s looking to get off some long-term money and whether the Nets could potentially be interested in those pieces.”

DYSON DANIELS (New Orleans Pelicans)

Daniels has already been ruled out of New Orleans’ game against Oklahoma City but is very much closing in on a return.

The Bendigo product has been sidelined since early February after being diagnosed with a torn meniscus in his left knee.

The Pelicans though have gone to another level in Daniels’ absence to put themselves in a strong position to contend for fourth seed in the West and possible home court advantage come the playoffs.

Daniels said last week that he was “hopefully” going to be ready in a week or two.

Dyson Daniels is nearing a return. Chris Gardner/Getty Images/AFPSource: AFP

Look for the Pelicans to ease Daniels into the action before building him up ahead of the post-season, where the Australian along with Herb Jones will be New Orleans’ two crucial pieces on defence to match up against some of the league’s biggest stars.

Daniels told reporters after his first full practice last week that this was the “biggest injury of his career” and while it was “tough” to watch from the sidelines it gave him a new perspective on assessing the team’s strengths and weaknesses.

“I’ve taken a lot of things from what the team is doing well and what we can do better,” Daniels said.

“It’s [the rehab process] been tough. A lot of earning mornings spent in the weight room, just strengthening exercises and stuff like that. A lot of conditioning. The stuff you don’t want to do but have to do.

“… I’m super excited [to be nearly back]. We’re in a really good position right now. We’ve got to keep our foot on the gas, keep pushing. Fourth spot is right there for us with home ground advantage.”

Bench CLEARED – Draymond incites scuffle | 00:43

JOSH GREEN (Dallas Mavericks)

Another Australian on the mend is Josh Green, who went down with an ankle injury after stepping on Derek Lively II’s foot in a game against the Thunder earlier this month.

Coach Jason Kidd told reporters on Monday that Green is out of his boot and doing some pool work.

“So trending in the right direction,” Kidd said, although Green is still not in a position to start on-court activity yet.

The hope for Dallas is that Green will be healthy enough to see playing time before the post-season so he has a chance to ramp up towards the consistent 20-plus minutes he was seeing before the injury.

Kidd though added he was comfortable with the Dallas rotation with or without Green, which brings us to his Mavericks teammate Dante Exum.

DANTE EXUM (Dallas Mavericks)

Exum shapes as a serious X-factor for Dallas off the bench in the playoffs and showed his value against San Antonio, coming up clutch late to help seal a 113-107 win.

Luka Doncic had an off shooting night against the Spurs, going 6-for-27 from the field, and while that usually would result in a Mavericks loss it wasn’t the case last Thursday.

Instead, 16 points from Exum, who went a perfect 4-for-4 from deep, helped Dallas home as coach Jason Kidd declared post-game that the Australian was “huge” down the stretch.

“Dante played amazing,” Doncic added post-game.

Those kinds of performances are the ones that will see Exum earn Kidd’s trust in the post-season.

Exum followed it up with a scoreless game against Utah in 15 minutes but he only attempted one shot in the game which saw four of Dallas’ starters hit double figures, with Doncic leading the scorers on 34 points.

Dante Exum got plenty of praise from his teammates. Sam Hodde/Getty Images/AFPSource: AFP

And that is the thing with Exum. He is not always going to be making shots or putting up points but that doesn’t mean he isn’t making an impact, as teammate Kyrie Irving pointed out in his assessment of the Australian’s game against the Spurs.

“He’s a pressure reliever,” Irving said.

“He’s like one of those Swiss army knives that you can throw in there at any point, can play with anybody out there at any point and it makes a big difference for us, takes a tonne of weight off our shoulders.”

Exum will be a valuable piece in the playoffs, offering Kidd a third ball-handling option off the bench while his defensive versatility is also obviously a plus.

JOCK LANDALE (Houston Rockets)

Where did that come from?

After seemingly looking destined for a reserve role with the Rockets, injuries have opened the door for Jock Landale to suddenly emerge as a key piece of Houston’s playoffs push.

The Rockets are the league’s most in-form team, having won 11 of their last 12 games to threaten the Warriors, who sit just ahead of Houston in 10th position.

Houston’s rapid rise is particularly impressive given it has been without standout centre Alperen Sengun, who went down injured earlier this month and was feared to be at risk of missing the entire season.

However, Brian Windhorst of ESPN reported there is a “very real chance” he could be cleared to return before the end of the regular season.

In the meantime, Landale has taken advantage of his increased playing time since Sengun’s injury, scoring double figures in five of seven games without him.

That included 15 points in the first quarter alone in Houston’s most recent win against Portland.

Jock Landale has made the most of his opportunity. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

Landale also has made a big impression on the defensive end, recording a career-high seven blocks in Houston’s 137-114 road win over the Washington Wizards.

“It was great,” Rockets head coach Ime Udoka said of Landale.

“We acknowledged him in the locker room, about that. He was part of the unit that really got us going, from an energy standpoint. Meeting guys at the rim, making the right plays in there, and deterring shots, even if he didn’t block it.”

“It is always good to get an opportunity to get out there with the boys to make a push toward the Play-In Tournament,” added Landale.

“I think we have gained some good traction. That’s where my mind has been; having a lot of fun.”

Vibes are clearly immaculate at Houston and after a tough start to the season Landale is also enjoying his basketball, described by commentator Craig Ackerman as the “most popular man in a Rockets uniform tonight” after playing a leading role in the team’s 103-101 win over the Spurs.

Landale obviously feels comfortable too, comfortable enough to cheekily call out teammate Dillon Brooks after he was ejected in Houston’s win against the Bulls.

“Dillon Brooks, if you’re listening. This ain’t Memphis, man. Stop getting yourself ejected. We need you out here. We need that physicality,” Landale said.

JOE INGLES (Orlando Magic)

The hope for the Magic is that Ingles is really about to show his worth as Orlando prepares for its first post-season run with its young, developing core.

The Magic sit fifth in the Eastern Conference and are locked into a playoff berth with a chance of pushing up the standings to earn home court advantage.

It is an impressive step in the right direction for a team that undoubtedly has even better days ahead given its relative inexperience, although that is why Ingles was brought over in the first place.

Ingles’ poise and steady presence as the creator for the second unit should see him earn a consistent role for the Magic in the playoffs, even if he has been regularly targeted on the defensive side of the ball.

Joe Ingles will be a much-needed veteran presence. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

DUOP REATH (Portland Trail Blazers)

Reath proved a handful in his latest start against the Nuggets, once again proving his all-round skillset by finishing at the rim and draining a trio of 3-pointers on the way to 24 points in a 114-111 loss.

The 27-year-old also had eight rebounds, two assists, two blocks and a steal in the game and is shooting at 38.3 per cent from downtown, excellent numbers for his position.

A feature from ESPN’s Andrew Lopez on Tuesday lifted the lid on Reath’s journey to the NBA and the mentorship big man Deandre Ayton has provided since he entered the league.

“He ain’t backing down from s***,” Ayton said of Reath to ESPN.

“He loves the challenge and he competes. I tested him and I’m a crazy m*****f*****. But Wop got it. Wop can play on any team in this league. Any team.”

Fellow Australian Matisse Thybulle also recalled in the ESPN story how the Trail Blazers locked room was convinced Reath wasn’t going to be stuck in the G League much longer after a dominant showing in his Rip City Remix debut against the South Bay Lakers.

Reath exploded for 37 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks in the game.

Duop Reath has been a big success story this season. Steph Chambers/Getty Images/AFPSource: AFP

“After the game, everybody’s joking as we’re walking out the gym like, ‘Well, Wop just played himself out of the G-League’,” Thybulle said.

He was right too, with Reath called up to make his NBA debut against the Lakers two days later and he has never looked back since that point.

“I told Matisse as soon as I walked on the court to do my warmup, the lights were a little bit brighter at Crypto.com Arena,” Reath told ESPN.

“It felt like this is how I visualised it, the warmup, my pre-game warmup, everything was the way I visualised it. And I was just telling him, yeah, ‘Man, dreams do come true’.”

Portland is in the middle of a rebuild and out of playoff contention so there won’t be any post-season basketball for Reath.

MATISSE THYBULLE (Portland Trail Blazers)

The same goes for Blazers teammate Thybulle, who has been sidelined since early last week with a sprained ankle.

Thybulle was a game-time decision for Portland’s game against the Rockets before later being ruled out.

Despite the injury setback the Australian still comfortably leads the league for blocked 3-point shots (25) and Portland will welcome his disruptive defence and improved outside shooting when the Australian returns for the final stretch of the season.

Matisse Thybulle is closing in on a return. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

PATTY MILLS (Atlanta Hawks)

Mills has been given more playing time since making the move to Miami, benefiting from injuries to fellow guards Josh Richardson and Tyler Herro.

Herro has now missed 15 straight games with a foot injury and there is no real clarity on when he could return while Richardson has already been ruled out for the season after undergoing surgery on his right shoulder.

Mills should see steady minutes until Herro is healthy and had a solid game against Cleveland on Monday, scoring 10 points to go with three assists, two rebounds and a pair of steals.

As a whole though Mills has struggled from 3-point range since joining the Heat, shooting only 20.0 per cent.

He will need to improve on that number to have any chance of seeing any significant playing time in the post-season for the Heat.

Obviously Mills has other intangibles to offer Miami like his general leadership and locker room presence but his 3-point shooting is still his greatest on-court strength.

Patty Mills has a big opportunity. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

JAYLIN GALLOWAY (Milwaukee Bucks)

Galloway is continuing to produce plenty of highlights in the G League since being snapped by the Milwaukee Bucks after his impressive season with the Sydney Kings in the NBL.

The 21-year-old put a Salt Lake City defender on a poster in his Wisconsin Herd debut and backed it up last week with a ferocious dunk.

Galloway had six points, three rebounds, one assists, one steal and one block in the 125-111 win over Capital City Go-Go, later scoring a career-high 13 points in a 105-85 victory against the Raptors 905.

Galloway also had four rebounds, two assists, a steal and a block in that win.

The young Australian won’t feature in Milwaukee’s post-season action but could push for minutes in the rotation next season with more impressive performances this year.