Thunder Move Josh Giddey To Bench For Game 5

The Thunder made a change to their starting line up on Wednesday night, benching Josh Giddey in favor of Isaiah Joe to optimize floor spacing for Game 5 of their semifinal matchup with Dallas, writes Justin Martinez of The Oklahoman. The series is currently tied at two games apiece.

The No. 6 overall pick of the 2021 draft, Giddey had started all 218 games — including the postseason — of his three-year career prior to Wednesday.

As Joel Lorenzi of The Oklahoman wrote late last week, Giddey struggled mightily in the first two games of the series and saw his role drastically reduced — that has continued as the series has unfolded. Through four games, the 21-year-old is averaging 6.0 PPG, 2.3 RPG and 1.3 APG in just 13.3 MPG, posting a .385/.182/1.000 shooting line. The team is minus-22 in his 53 minutes on the court.

In 80 regular season games in 2023/24, Giddey averaged 12.3 PPG, 6.4 RPG and 4.8 APG on .475/.337/.806 shooting in 25.1 MPG.

The Mavericks have been daring Giddey to shoot throughout the series, playing so far off him that it clogs passing lanes and makes life difficult for his teammates. The Australian has also struggled on the other end of the court, Lorenzi added.

Still, Coach of the Year Mark Daigneault called Giddey was a “very important part” of the team’s present and future.

What I’ve seen is three years of Josh Giddey, and he’s a very good player and a very important player to our team,” Daigneault said, per Lorenzi. “In Game 4 of New Orleans, I don’t know that we close that series if he’s not banging in shots in the fourth quarter. These games are high stakes, they’re obviously emotional. But I think it’s important with every player — good, bad — to zoom out and see the big picture. And the big picture is he’s been a very productive player for a long time. He’s 21 years old. He’s gonna be a very productive player for a long time moving forward.”

Giddey will be eligible for a rookie scale extension this offseason.

View Comments (13)