The Thunder’s season kicks off on Oct. 25 against the Chicago Bulls. After a surprising 40-42 campaign that ended with a win shy of the playoffs, OKC enters this year with playoff aspirations.
Let’s assign three goals for Josh Giddey, who will start his third NBA season at 21 years old. In 76 games last season, he averaged 16.6 points, 7.9 assists and 6.2 assists. He will enter next offseason with a chance to receive a contract extension. A strong third season would guarantee that.
Get more free throws
One of the best ways to make up for subpar outside shooting is getting to the free-throw line at a decent rate. That is something Giddey has struggled with thus far in his career. Despite averaging 12.4 drives last season — second on OKC — he only averaged 1.9 free-throw attempts.
That number will need to increase this upcoming season. Giddey showed signs of that throughout the 2023 FIBA World Cup, but it’s still yet to be determined if he can translate that to the NBA level.
If he can increase his attempts and shoot at a better clip — he’s currently a 72.3% career free-throw shooter — then his scoring numbers should skyrocket.
Continue to improve the 3-point shot
This has been one of the major sticking points for Giddey so far in his career. The 20-year-old entered the NBA with huge question marks about his outside shooting.
To his credit, he’s progressed in that area in his first two seasons — albeit on small samples. Another season under shooting coach guru Chip Engelland should aspire optimism that Giddey can continue to steadily improve.
While he’ll likely never develop into a knockdown shooter, if Giddey can be league average on slightly higher volume, then that should open up the court for everybody.
Get All-Star buzz
Entering his third season, this is right around the time players start to separate themselves from the rest of their draft class. If things go well for Giddey, he could receive some All-Star whispers at the very least.
Playing with a center like Chet Holmgren will definitely help out with that. It’s easy to imagine the pick-and-roll chemistry those two will have. It also helps to play with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander — who commands the attention of all five opposing players on the court at all times.
If Giddey continues to steadily improve, then seeing him get mentioned in All-Star conversations isn’t that crazy of an idea. Especially if the Thunder are one of the better teams in the league through February.