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Josh Giddey Is Making Noise With The Thunder

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(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

 

In the 2021 NBA Draft, the Oklahoma City Thunder selected Australian guard Josh Giddey as the sixth overall pick.

At the time, some people were left scratching their heads as they asked just who the heck Giddey was.

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Was this really the right sort of player to help the Thunder begin their rebuilding process?

Some might have scoffed at Giddey last year but no one is laughing now: Giddey has become a force to be reckoned with.

He’s breaking records and proving his worth often and is now one of the most exciting rookies – and players – in the entire league.

 

Triple-Double Record

Giddey made history on Sunday night during the Thunder’s loss to the Dallas Mavericks.

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The guard put up 17 points, 14 assists, and 13 rebounds – that’s right, he achieved a triple-double.

At 19 years and 84 days old, Giddey officially became the youngest player ever to record a triple-double in the NBA.

The previous record was held by LaMelo Ball at 19 years and 140 days old.

Giddey was…well, giddy about the news and took to Twitter to celebrate.

But this wasn’t just the only time that Giddey has impressed during his first season in the league.

The player is averaging 11 points, 7.3 rebounds, 6.4 assists and even one steal a game.

He’s playing incredibly well, especially for a player of his size and build.

Not only is he great at grabbing boards and defending, he’s also putting up some impressive shots too.

With Giddey, the Thunder have a young, up-and-coming player who might be a viable threat on both sides of the court.

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Giddey credits his time playing in Australia for his play-style, telling Sports Illustrated just how tough and intense that league down under was:

“It’s a very physical league in Australia. Guys get whacked in the paint, and the refs let a lot of things go.”

In other words, Giddey isn’t afraid to get roughed up in order to score.

Giddey was immediately comfortable in the NBA and has somehow circumvented the awkwardness that you find in many other rookies.

When you watch him gracefully move down the court, you see someone who is acting like a pro who has been doing it for a few years now.

That is such a helpful attribute for the Thunder as they aim to cobble together a youthful roster that can compete.

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Giddey Up?

It’s important to note that even on Giddey’s historic evening, the Thunder still lost.

Yes, Giddey is a great rookie but the Thunder are still 13-23 and the 13th seed in the West.

They are very much a rebuilding experiment and are a few years away from greatness.

However, if the front office is smart it will build the team around players like Giddey.

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He’s a valuable and rare two-way player who can create shots as well as block them.

With his size and speed and intelligence, he really hits all the marks for what the Thunder are looking for.

He’s not alone either: fellow rookie Jeremiah Robinson-Earl has a lot of promise and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Lu Dort are natural NBA leaders.

Altogether, they are formulating a squad they can be proud of.

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Is it a team that will burst into the postseason?

Not yet, but with Giddey playing like he is and the rest of the squad building their abilities too, the Thunder are headed in the right direction – slowly but surely.

The post Josh Giddey Is Making Noise With The Thunder appeared first on The Cold Wire.





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Fantasy Football Rankings 2022: Busts from analytical model that called Julio Jones’ disappointing season

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Pittsburgh running back Najee Harris was one of the top Fantasy football breakouts last season, rushing for 1,667 yards on 381 carries during his rookie campaign. Harris has told multiple media outlets he is prepared for an even heavier workload this season despite leading the NFL in touches last year. Does his volume make him one of the safest 2022 Fantasy football picks? Harris will be one of the first players off the board in most 2022 Fantasy football rankings, but can you trust him in an unproven offense or will he become one of the biggest 2022 Fantasy football busts? As you begin your 2022 Fantasy football draft prep, be sure to check out the 2022 Fantasy football cheat sheets from the proven computer model at SportsLine.

Last year, SportsLine’s model accurately predicted that Titans wide receiver Julio Jones was being dramatically overvalued. He was being drafted around in the fifth round on average, but SportsLine predicted he wasn’t even close to being one of the top 20 wide receivers. Jones wound up turning in an incredibly disappointing stat line, catching 31 passes for 434 yards and one touchdown. 

The same model has a proven track record providing Fantasy football tips, also identifying A.J. Brown as a sleeper in 2020 and JuJu Smith-Schuster as Fantasy football bust last season. It also nailed Jonathan Taylor’s big season and was all over Jaylen Waddle to outperform his Fantasy football ADP. Additionally, it’s called past Fantasy football sleepers like Derrick Henry in 2019, Christian McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara in 2018, and Davante Adams in 2017. Anybody who banked on players like those made a run at their league title.

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The model is powered by the same people who generated projections for all three major Fantasy sites, and it beat human experts last season when there was a big difference in ranking. The projections update multiple times daily, so you’re always getting the best Fantasy football advice.

Now, SportsLine has simulated the entire NFL season 10,000 times and released its latest Fantasy football rankings 2022, along with plenty of sleepers, breakouts and busts. Head to SportsLine now to see them

Top 2022 Fantasy football busts

One of the 2022 Fantasy football busts the model is predicting: Cardinals running back James Conner. Arizona was happy with what it got out of Conner last season, re-signing him to a three-year, $21 million contract this offseason. He is being paid like a top-10 running back despite ranking outside the top 25 in rushing yards last year.

Conner is being overrated in Fantasy football drafts because he finished second in the NFL in rushing touchdowns (15) last season. Owners should be wary of drafting a player who is reliant on scoring touchdowns at a high rate, as there is plenty of variance. SportsLine’s model has Conner finishing behind Alvin Kamara and Christian McCaffrey in production this season, even though both are available one round later, on average. 

Another bust that SportsLine’s Fantasy football rankings 2022 have identified: Commanders running back Antonio Gibson. He is coming off a solid season, finishing 10th in Fantasy points among running backs, which put him ahead of players like Nick Chubb and Dalvin Cook. Gibson set career-highs in most statistical categories, including carries and rushing yards.

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There were disappointing signs as well, including the fact that Gibson scored fewer than 12 points in PPR leagues seven times. Washington’s backfield is going to be more crowded this year, as the team selected Brian Robinson in April’s draft. Gibson is being drafted before D’Andre Swift, Josh Jacobs and Elijah Mitchell, but that trio is projected to finish ahead of Gibson in SportsLine’s Fantasy football rankings 2022.

How to find proven 2022 Fantasy football rankings

SportsLine is also extremely low on a running back coming off the board in the third or fourth round on average of 2022 Fantasy football drafts. The model ranks him outside its top 24 running backs for 2022 and expects him to see major regression after a breakout season in 2021. You can only see who it is, and the 2022 Fantasy football rankings for every player, at SportsLine.

So which 2022 Fantasy Football breakouts should you be targeting? And which RB will fail to live up to expectations in 2022? Visit SportsLine now to get 2022 Fantasy Football cheat sheets for every single position, all from the model that told you to avoid Julio Jones in 2021, and find out.



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NFL 2022: McCaffrey, Young, Ramsey among key players returning from injuries

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Christian McCaffrey and Chase Young are among NFL stars returning from injuries. Dr. Matt Provencher breaks down what to expect.



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Why Kevin Durant’s ultimatum to the Nets requires just a one-word response from owner Joe Tsai

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Give Kevin Durant this much credit: The man isn’t afraid to go to the mattresses.

But let’s let the praise, awe or understanding end there. Durant’s move this week to reportedly sit with Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai and lay down a me-or-them ultimatum is the latest proof that the only thing Durant may excel at more than basketball is an uncanny knack for turning tone deafness into an art form.

He’s a diva-may-care. And Tsai has to tell the man the same word Nets general manager Sean Marks did, as we suggested here when news of Durant’s trade demand first surfaced, the word that has led to all this huffing and puffing to blow Tsai’s team down: No.

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No, Kevin, you’re not in charge.

No, Kevin, we won’t blow up our team, or trade you, or — cue Durant’s latest would-be power play — fire all the adults in the room because they didn’t treat your tantrum like the world’s most sagacious reaction to difficulty. 

Let’s hone in on why, in London, Durant reportedly told the Nets owner he must either trade him — or fire head coach Steve Nash and Marks.

It’s not, as Shams Charania reported for The Athletic, because Durant is “transparent and professional,” the description of the supposed mood of the high-powered confab. This is all happening, including the timing and tone of this news story, because Durant has too often made a habit of being neither transparent nor professional.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to read this piece from Charania, a world-class NBA newsbreaker who himself has been transparent at times about his willingness to carry water for the sources who allow him to offer such accurate and valuable information, and deduce that Durant or those near him leaked the reporting in exchange for casting all this in a favorable light.

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Thus, KD’s latest me-me-me-me move gets sold as an above-the-board powerbroker handling such difficulties with aplomb and maturity. Don’t buy it for a second.

Strip away the quid-pro-quo that is the heartbeat of breaking sports news, and “does not have faith in the team’s direction” actually translates to: Didn’t do my bidding.

As in: Durant demanded a trade, Marks said no, and the superstar, unaccustomed to that word, has responded with a next-level move. The choice now that it’s either him or them. Despite the details that, you know, exactly one year before the Tasi meeting, Durant signed a four-year, $198 million contract extension.

Durant isn’t just saying keep me or keep them. He’s saying, regardless of how newsbreakers try to present his latest diva-demand, either trade him — or make him the boss.

Look, Durant is a basketball player of otherworldly talent and dedication. His talent borders on the miraculous, and his love for the game is clear. He is also, when not going full diva, by all accounts a great guy. Human beings are complicated, and we can be many things at once: Talented, dedicated, hungry, kind, interesting, insightful, and full of petty grievances and insecurities. 

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None of this is to say Durant is a bad person, as if that has any place in a sports column. It’s to say that many all-time great players are remarkably awful string-pullers and would-be GMs. Look westward, Tsai, to the Los Angeles Lakers and one LeBron James for a real-world, real-time reminder.

Trade Durant (for the right price), or don’t. Believe in him, or decide you’ve had enough. But don’t allow Durant to burn everything down because last year was tough. Don’t let him hold you hostage because he didn’t get his way in demanding a trade that would devastate the Nets without a fair return. Don’t let him end the run of Marks, who has proven himself a great general manager, nor that of a Hall of Fame player in Nash who deserves more time to show what he can or can’t do as a head coach.

This is scorched-earth stuff. Things went bad, let me leave. You won’t just give me away, fire everyone. You won’t fire everyone, fine, time for the public-news-bomb-pressure campaign. 

That’s the other part of this.

It’s beyond credulity to entertain the idea that Tsai or those around him leaked this news. There’s no need. The Nets owner doesn’t need to leverage himself by leaking a blockbuster bit of news in order to pressure himself. He’s the decision maker. So if this report from Shams came from Durant and the people around him — as seems quite clear, especially given the rosy presentation of Durant’s end of things — then KD went in 24 hours, straight from asking Tasi to fire Nash and Marks, to trying to publicly pressure Tasi to do it.

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That’s a tantrum. Or hardball. Or both. But either way, it’s bad business, and there remains one word in response, either to trading a generational talent like KD for less than what you want in return, or in firing the GM who won’t do so, along with his hand-picked head coach:

No. 

No, Kevin.

No.

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