Josh Giddey

Bulls introduce Josh Giddey, who's refreshed by fresh start

Guard praises Oklahoma City for trading him to 'great spot'

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The Chicago Bulls introduced Josh Giddey in a virtual news conference on Tuesday. And while the Australian said he hasn’t discussed his role yet with the Chicago Bulls, pencil him in as the starting point guard.

The Bulls targeted Giddey just as specifically as the Oklahoma City Thunder eyed Alex Caruso in the one-for-one trade finalized on Friday. League sources indicated that the New York Knicks and Sacramento Kings both offered draft capital to the Bulls in packages they felt were superior to the one-for-one deal. The Athletic previously reported the Kings' offer that featured the 13th overall pick in this week’s NBA Draft.

“We haven’t spoken about roles yet. I’ve met with (coach) Billy (Donovan) a bunch of times already and he’s been unbelievable in the conversations we’ve had. But I understand the team that’s here, there are a lot of good guards,” Giddey said. “Ayo (Dosunmu), Coby (White), Dalen (Terry), they have a lot of guys who can handle the rock. I think it will make for good competition in training camp, to push each other and make each other better. We’ll see what happens when the season comes around.”

Perhaps it’s merely an innocent slip that Giddey didn’t mention either Zach LaVine or Lonzo Ball in his comments. In his defense, it’s not his job to play general manager and, after flying in from Australia on Sunday, the 21-year-old’s world is in flux as he meets his new organization.

In fact, Giddey downplayed a question on whether or not the Bulls have indicated to him that more moves are coming following his acquisition that could signal a youth movement and either rebuild or retool depending on how drastic the potential changes become.

“I haven’t asked,” Giddey said. “I’ve just focused on getting here, getting acclimated to the new surroundings. In terms of what direction the franchise is going, I haven’t asked any questions. I’ve just kind of bought into whatever happens here happens. I’ll play my part in helping our team be as good as it can be right from the jump.”

Giddey certainly sounded like a point guard when asked how he envisions his role.

“My job is just to make the game easy for everybody else. Come in and make sure guys are getting easy looks, guys are comfortable on the floor,” he said. “When you’re a point guard and you can get other people around you going and making them involved in the game and getting them feeling good early, it opens the game up for everybody. That’s how I see myself, making basketball easy for my teammates around me.”

Giddey came across as relaxed and affable and thankful for his new opportunity. He praised Thunder executive vice president and general manager Sam Presti multiple times during his nearly 17-minute media session---and for reasons beyond the fact that Presti said Giddey has All-Star potential.

“I’ve had a great relationship with Sam throughout my entire time in Oklahoma. The one thing about him that I really respect is his transparency. He’s very open and honest with players and especially with me throughout this whole process,” Giddey said. “Obviously, I came off a tough year. My role shifted a little bit. I was playing a lot more off ball and a role different from what I’ve done in my career. So there were no secrets it was going to take some flexibility from my part to kind of fit in with the team that we had and the structure that we had and the type of players that we had. And he spoke to me about looking at potential different roles, coming off the bench, running the second unit. And I just said to him at this point in my career, I’m 21 years old, it wasn’t something that I was overly eager to do. And he completely understood.

“We were open and honest with each other. And we worked together throughout the whole process. He got me to a great spot. I’m very, very excited to be here in Chicago and all first impressions have been unbelievable. The people have been great. And I feel very welcomed here.”

Giddey showed strong self-reflection and accountability when asked about his diminished role during the Thunder’s second-round series loss to the eventual Western Conference champion Dallas Mavericks. While Giddey’s role changed during the season largely in part to the Thunder unexpectedly claiming the conference’s No. 1 seed as Shai Gilgeous-Alexander emerged as a most valuable candidate and Chet Holmgren showcased his unique skillset, the Mavericks targeted Giddey at the defensive end and left him wide-open as a shooter.

“It was tough. As a player, first you want to get to the NBA. And then when you’re in the NBA, you want to be a part of big games in the playoffs. I’ve dreamt of that moment for so long. For it to end the way it did, it left a sour taste in my mouth. It showed me there are so many things I have to work on to be available in those moments,” Giddey said. “Shooting is a big one. But I just realized to be at the highest level, you’ve really got to be able to compete at the defensive end. You’ve got to be able to guard guys. That’s a side of the ball that I really want to take pride in and take steps forward in and make sure when playoff time comes around, I’m ready to go on both sides of the ball.”

Giddey’s whirlwind offseason will continue with his role on the Australian national team. He also said he planned to watch film of Bulls games from last season, even while praising the talent on the roster.

“In terms of how I saw my season, it was different. It was screening, playing in the dunker, being ready to catch-and-shoot. As I said earlier, it wasn’t a negative look on me. It was more so our team got so good and there were multiple players who could handle the ball and do different things. So I had to adjust. And I think I did,” Giddey said. “And while you’re in the midst of it, it’s hard to see the light. But looking back now, it probably taught me a lot of lessons that I needed for a young player in their career.

“I thank Sam for those (All-Star) comments. I speak very highly of him, great person. In regards to that, it was going to be hard to tap into my potential in a team like that. There were so many talented guys who needed the ball in their hands, who was great with the ball in their hands. A change of scenery was maybe going to unlock more of that for me. Coming here, I want to be the pass-first point guard that I am.”

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