Josh Giddey: The biggest sleeper pick for the 2022 NBA Rookie of the Year 

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Oklahoma City Thunder’s Josh Giddey (3) drives against Cleveland Cavaliers’ Darius Garland (10) in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

“What do you mean breathe, breathe. Don’t tell me to breathe. Ayo, bring me a shot!” 

If you’re familiar with Oklahoma City Thunder rookie Josh Giddey, you know that this phrase, coined by popular rapper Drake, is synonymous with the young guard’s persona. Off the court, Giddey can be found fooling around on TikTok and entertaining fans with a goofy attitude that has already made him a fan favorite. 

It’s almost crazy to believe that when you see Giddey play on the court, it’s everything but a joke. Take a look at the Thunder’s exhibition match against the Charlotte Hornets. Despite the Thunder’s blowout loss, it wasn’t the rookie’s fault. That game, Giddey put up 21 points and 9 rebounds, while shooting 58% from the field.  

That game wasn’t a one-time occurrence for Giddey either. NBA followers have seen the Thunder rookie excite fans throughout the season with impressive assists and an improving jump shot that has made him a significant threat from deep. For an Oklahoma City Thunder team that is rebuilding and needs another young face, Giddey is the perfect person to add. 

The rookie is incredibly gifted and his play on the court has been absolutely incredible to watch. The same player that NBA fans can see on their TikTok feed joking around is the same player who owns the record for the youngest player in NBA history to grab a triple-double with 17 points, 14 assists and 13 rebounds against the Dallas Mavericks on Jan. 2.  

A quick glance at the Thunder’s team statistics can really tell a story about how much Giddey has impacted Oklahoma City’s game plan this season. With an average of 30 minutes per game on the season, the rookie leads the Thunder in rebounds and assists. You heard that correctly. The Thunder’s leading rebounder is a rookie shooting guard. When you pair that feat with the Thunder still having talented guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander on the roster, that’s impressive, and Giddey continues to lead the team in assists while standing just 0.2 steals away from leading the team in an additional statistical category.  

While the Thunder team is playing terrible basketball right now and sits dead last in the Western Conference, that shouldn’t take away from Giddey’s accomplishments. The rookie is absolutely phenomenal and if the current 2022 rookie ladder was not so steep with players such as Cavs center Evan Mobley and Pistons guard Cade Cunningham leading the way, Giddey would be a top-tier candidate for the prized Rookie of the Year award. 

Even with the league’s talented set of rookies, Giddey is still an impressive player. His season assist average is the highest amongst NBA rookies and his rebound totals are third amongst rookies. Besides blocks and free throws, Giddey is top 10 amongst NBA rookies in many major statistical categories, including points, assists, rebounds, steals and more.  

If you’re not taking Giddey seriously, there’s no better time to start than now. He’s proven that he is a serious threat on the court and a major part of Oklahoma City’s current rebuild. The young guard is one of the best rookies this season and is an absolute sleeper pick for the 2022 NBA Rookie of the Year.

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