The OKC Thunder’s Josh Giddey was one of the top rookies coming out of the NBA 2021-22 season. Here’s what he did to improve his game.
On Jan. 2, 2022, the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Josh Giddey became the youngest player to get a triple-double.
In a game against Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks, Giddey was hopping all over the offensive end. He was step-backing, driving the lane, snatching rebounds, and dishing no-look passes.
He made a lot of exciting plays, but my favourite play from this performance came in the third quarter.
It was early, around the 9-minute mark. Giddey was on defense and noticed that Luka was setting up a lob to Dwight Powell.
As soon as the ball was released from Luka’s hands, Giddey hopped over to deflect that ball, resulting in a turnover. Then, he ran the fast break with his pal, Aleksej Pokusevski (or Poku), who finished Giddey’s logo lob.
Giddey ended the game with 17 points, 14 assists, and 13 rebounds. He also had 4 steals to sweeten the dessert pot a tad more.
Buuuut, the Thunder lost the match-up to the Mavs by 9 points.
The final score was 95-86.
How Giddey’s Game Became Consistent
Based on this performance, you probably think that Giddey had a great start to his rookie season.
You couldn’t be more wrong. In the first half of the 2021-22 season, Giddey’s performance was up and down; it was really streaky.
Sometimes, he’ll have a handful of games where he’ll barely score 7 points on poor shooting (like, 20 percent poor). But then he’ll follow it up with a handful of games where he’ll put up 14-plus points with loads of assists and rebounds.
It wasn’t until around the second half of the season that he started to find some consistency in his performance.
From Jan 2 to Feb 24, Giddey averaged 14.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 6.8 assists. He also averaged one steal a game.
(Now, you’re probably wondering why I only mentioned 24 games. Well, he got injured and the Thunder tanked, so he missed the last two months of the season.)
So, how did he improve his game? Well, it’s because he got bigger and stronger.
On NBADraftNet.com, one of the flaws the site’s scout attributed to him before he was drafted was that he was “thin” and needed “to bulk up considerably.”
He also needed to become more explosive and athletic.
Well, he heard this (most likely definitely from his trainers and not the site) and he worked on it.
During an interview with NBA Today after a Summer League game, he was asked by Malika Andrews how his game improved throughout the regular season and in the off-season.
He responded, saying, “I think the weight room was a big part.”
“I think the main thing is that I’ve gotten a lot stronger. Quicker and stronger are the two things I wanted to improve on a lot… I think that’s definitely one of the areas I’ve improved in.”
How You Can Get Stronger for Basketball
As average Joes and Janes, we don’t put much emphasis on strength training because, frankly, we don’t have time.
Playing basketball is our physical activity for the week. We don’t have much time or energy for other physical activities.
However, if you want to take your basketball skills (or game) to the next level, you should spare some time to get stronger.
And you don’t have to go H.A.M (is that a thing anymore) and put in 3-5 days a week of weightlifting, like Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson, to gain strength.
Two, 30-min sessions a week are sufficient. And you can just do bodyweight movements such as push-ups, pull-ups, squats, and single-leg Romanian deadlifts (which you can learn about here, btw).
Additionally, strength training can ward off injuries. So, that’s a bonus.
When Giddey returned to the hardwood in Summer League, he was phenomenal.
He seemed faster, stronger, and smarter. His play was more explosive.
So, if you want to improve like Giddey and take your game to the next level, you have to get stronger.
Thus, do the exercises I shared, build strength, and rule on the hardwood!