Aussie NBA star Josh Giddey warns his Oklahoma Thunder teammates not to take NBL side Adelaide 36ers lightly ahead of their upcoming game
- The NBAxNBL pre-season tournament has been revived after a Covid hiatus
- Australian team Adelaide will play against NBA sides Phoenix and Oklahoma
- Aussie star Josh Giddey played for Adelaide and now lines up for the Thunder
- He has warned his NBA teammates not to underestimate his old Aussie team
Underestimate the Australian NBL at your peril, Aussie product Josh Giddey has warned his NBA teammates.
Giddey’s former Australian team the Adelaide 36ers have been announced as the sole Aussie team to travel to the United States to compete against NBA sides in the resurrected NBAxNBL series.
They will play pre-season games against Giddey’s Oklahoma City Thunder and the Phoenix Suns in early October.
Giddey will line up against his former Australian club when Oklahoma City play Adelaide
Giddey played for Adelaide before being drafted by the Thunder, collecting the 2021 NBL Rookie of the Year Award in the process.
He has warned his new teammates against complacency in the revived series, saying the NBL is a tough competition and the 36ers are capable of springing an upset.
‘To play against any Australian team I would’ve been happy with but for it to be the team which essentially helped me get to the NBA makes it that much more special,’ Giddey said.
Giddey showed his skills as a teenager playing against men in the National Basketball League
‘To play against familiar faces who I have played against and who I have been teammates with, guys I’ve known a long time, so it’s going to be fun.
‘I knew the NBL and the NBA stuff, I remember watching it back when I was 15.
‘It’s good to play against any NBL team, but for it to be the team I played with makes it a lot more exciting.
‘But I’m going to tell my guys not to take them lightly because these Australian teams are very competitive and can really play.’
Likewise, the new-look Adelaide squad is looking forward to testing themselves against teams in the best league in the world.
Coach CJ Bruton has aggressively recruited a host of big names including US imports Antonius Cleveland [Illawarra] and Robert Franks [Brisbane].
Franks was a shining light in a dismal Brisbane Bullets season and now heads to Adelaide
They will blend with a host of existing talent including former Australian Boomer Daniel ‘DJ’ Johnson who said he was proud of everything Giddey had achieved.
‘Josh is very tough, and he used to playing against the best players in the world,’ Johnson said.
‘He has done really well for himself.
‘There was a lot of hype going into the NBA, but he has backed that up, which is awesome to see.
‘He is a great kid, and he was a great teammate, so it’s good to see him having success.’
Antonius Cleveland of the Hawks will be a strong addition to the Adelaide 36ers squad
Bruton said the NBAxNBL series would be a valuable opportunity to gel his new-look outfit and was looking forward to seeing what his new imports Cleveland and Franks could produce.
‘They’ve both played little stints in the NBA, they’ve both played in the G-League, they’ve both played in our competition and both have been very good at their trade.
‘They’re both good kids, they both want to win, they’ll both do what’s necessary for their team and they both had a skillset we needed as you saw from last year.
‘Those two guys remind me of the past players I had to go against on a consistent basis and run through.
‘I’m trying to think of talent in our competition, how you utilise it, make the most of it, allow them to breathe and see success within themselves and in the group.’
Adelaide 36ers head coach, CJ Bruton during the round 21 NBL match between South East Melbourne Phoenix and Adelaide 36ers at John Cain Arena
Adelaide 36ers CEO Nic Barbato said the trip will be more than just basketball.
‘We are really really excited to be representing the state, representing our club and representing the NBL for these two games,’ Barbato said.
‘It’s phenomenal to extend our brand in such a big market and to connect with the best league in the world.’