Young gun set to join Aussie greats

Melbourne-born teen Josh Giddey’s world will change forever on Friday when he is drafted into the NBA, and there will be no one prouder than his father.

Warrick Giddey, who won two NBL championships alongside the great Andrew Gaze at the Melbourne Tigers, is Josh’s doting dad.

Giddey senior and members of the family have a table at the NBA draft in Brooklyn to watch their boy officially join the world’s best basketball league.

They’ve witnessed Josh’s hardworking journey to the NBA via Melbourne, the AIS in Canberra and a professional stint with Adelaide, where he won the NBL Rookie of the Year as a point guard.

So, when Giddey senior sees his son on the stage at the Barclays Centre being drafted into the NBA, it will be the culmination of years of dedication and sacrifice behind the scenes.

“Josh is our baby in a sense,” Warrick said about his 18-year-old son, who has been invited into the green room as a projected top 10 pick and has been linked to joining the likes of Oklahoma City and Steph Curry and co at the Golden State Warriors.

Josh Giddey is about to enter another world called the NBA. Picture: Matt TurnerSource:News Corp Australia

“I suppose he has already left home, but it’s like you want your kids to grow up so you can let them go.

“It is like you see all these adult animals look after their baby, just so they can get up and fend for themselves in the real world.

“It feels like that is what we are doing, setting Josh free so he can go off and make his own life.

“That is really exciting, not only for Josh, but the whole family. It is just another world that he is about to go into in the NBA, maybe another universe.”

Giddey senior isn’t wrong about the NBA.

For all the bright lights, big dollars and back slaps, the world’s best league can also be a competitive slog.

Respected Australian stars, including Andrew Bogut, have previously spoken about the ruthless professional realities of playing in the NBA, including being cut or drafted with little to no notice.

But just like Bogut and other Aussies have risen above the challenges to thrive, a mature Giddey is also expected to excel in the NBA.

Giddey senior has no doubts his son his ready for the world’s best.

“We’ve really tried to instil the (realities) of adulthood in our kids at a young age,” he said.

Giddey is the next big thing in Australian basketball. Picture: Mark Metcalfe/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

At home with some of his shoe collection. Picture: Matt TurnerSource:News Corp Australia

“I really haven’t sugar-coated things or hidden anything from them.

“So, Josh really got a taste of the real world at a young age.

“That is a bit of tough love and education, but we just wanted him to be able to communicate with adults and be comfortable around people.

“I think that will hold him in good stead for his progression into the real world.”

Josh will join the fellow Australians, Luc Longley, Ben Simmons, Dante Exum, Thon Maker and Bogut as a top 10 NBA draft pick.

Former draftees have previously admitted they didn’t soak up the moment of being drafted, but Giddey senior says Josh is primed to enjoy every second.

“As his management have said when he walks up, take a deep breath, because a lot of players can’t remember walking up to the stage,” he said.

“We really want him to try and compose himself and try and remember the journey because it is going to be a lifetime experience and something that he will never want to forget.”

The 2021 NBA draft from the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn starts from 10am on ESPN.

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