Aussie fans go bonkers over Josh Giddey's thrilling NBA debut

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Josh Giddey fired in his debut for the Oklahoma City Thunder the NBA pre-season. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)
Josh Giddey fired in his debut for the Oklahoma City Thunder the NBA pre-season. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)

Australia's next big NBA prospect Josh Giddey showed exactly why the Oklahoma City Thunder were happy to use the 6th pick in the 2021 draft on the teenager.

After a truncated debut in the NBA Summer League due to an injury in his first game, Giddey impressed in the Thunder's first pre-season game against the Charlotte Hornets.

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In an neat twist of fate, Giddey faced off against LaMelo Ball, who also made his way to the NBA via Australia's NBL, where he too won rookie of the year before being drafted.

The Thunder lost 113-97 to the Hornets, but the No.6 draft pick excited fans by showcasing his passing ability and feel around the rim.

The 203cm point-guard dazzled with a cross-court, left-handed pass to Theo Maledon and finished with a team-high 18 points, along with seven rebounds and three assists in 29 minutes of play.

Giddey, who turns 19 on Sunday, shot the ball at 8-for-12 from the field and 2-for-4 from long range.

He compared well against Ball, who finished with 15 points, six rebounds and five assists in just over 20 minutes of action.

"I didn't have any expectation (on Giddey), it's early," Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault said.

"As we know, there's a lot of ups and downs.

"He looked like that in practice but you never know until the game starts.

"He looked comfortable out there."

While the Thunder's coach might have been happy to manage expectations, Aussie fans were delighted to see some strong early signs from the former Adelaide 36ers star.

Many took to Twitter to praise the 18-year-old's pre-season debut.

Elsewhere, Australian centre Jock Landale had eight points, six rebounds and three assists in 15 minutes off the bench as the San Antonio Spurs scored a 111-85 win over the Utah Jazz.

Landale shot the ball at 2-for-4 from long range and threw down a dunk to open his scoring account, but also committed five turnovers.

NBA Sixers withhold millions from Ben Simmons

The Philadelphia 76ers have reportedly put 25 per cent of money owed to guard Ben Simmons per his contract - $8.25 million ($A11 million) - in an escrow account in response to their standoff.

According to media outlets, the Sixers will deduct any fines Simmons racks up from the account. Simmons has not reported to the team for training camp and has requested a trade.

Simmons' contract calls for him receiving two payments of $8.25 million before the season gets underway. He received the first payment on August 2.

The Sixers opened their preseason schedule on Monday against the Raptors in Toronto.

Ben Simmons' ongoing refusal to rejoin the Philadelphia 76ers has left teammate Joel Embiid 'disappointed', but hopeful the Aussie will change his mind. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Ben Simmons' ongoing refusal to rejoin the Philadelphia 76ers has left teammate Joel Embiid 'disappointed', but hopeful the Aussie will change his mind. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

"We're in it for the long haul," a source close to Simmons told ESPN.

A three-time All-Star, Simmons has averages of 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.7 assists per game over his four NBA seasons. The 25-year-old Australian is under contract for four more years after signing a five-year deal worth more than $177 million in 2020.

In last season's Eastern Conference semi-finals against the Hawks, Simmons passed on a wide-open dunk late in Game 7. The 76ers ended up losing to close their season.

Sixers centre Joel Embiid said this week the entire situation involving Simmons heading into the new season was "borderline disrespectful."

"Some guys rely on the team to be successful to stay in the league and make money somehow," Embiid said after practice last week.

With AAP

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