Giddey’s recent commitments to the Australian national team prevented him from attending the draft combine or working out for NBA franchises, but Warriors executives watched him post 14 points, four rebounds and three assists in Australia’s exhibition win over Nigeria in Las Vegas on July 13. What most impressed Golden State, per a source, was Giddey’s poise against a team loaded with NBA players.
The Boomers, who had 21 turnovers of their own and shot at 39 per cent from the field, were also let off the hook by Nigeria’s poor 12-of-24 free throw shooting. “The areas of concern for us in the game were expected; we were choppy in the half-court … and the flow of the game we made a lot of poor decisions,” Goorjian said. “But this group … we’ve focused on defence and I thought that was good and got better and was the reason for the victory.”
Joe Vardon: The Australians made easy work of Nigeria, 84-65. A sloppy game but the Boomers dominated. Patty Mills led all scorers with 25 points, while Dante Exum and Joe Ingles added 11 points each. Next up, USA-France in less than two hours.
Joe Vardon: Pretty remarkable: Tokyo Olympic officials would not allow Nigeria’s assistant coaches into the Olympic Village when the team arrived Friday. As a result, the team had to hold a players only practice Saturday.
Matisse Thybulle was a central figure in the Boomers’ undefeated run against Argentina, Team USA and Nigeria through a series of exhibition matches in Las Vegas, where his scoring was a particularly welcome sight. While he was named to the NBA all-defensive second team this season, the Philadelphia 76er averages 3.9 points per game. “For me, it’s pretty obvious what I bring to the table. That’s athleticism, defence and, as I keep growing, what I can do around the three-point line,” Thybulle told The Age and Sydney Morning Herald. “It’s just great to see how well my skill set has integrated, just being able to complement them [teammates] as best I can is ultimately my goal. It’s been so fun for me to do that and have so much success early.”
His father, who regularly travelled, ensured his son qualified for a dual passport before the family returned to the US, something Thybulle – named after the French artist Henri Matisse, whose work inspired Greg while he was backpacking through Europe – didn’t really appreciate as a youngster. “He used to make such a deal of that when we were kids. I was like: ‘Who cares?’ As a kid you take everything for granted, right?” Thybulle said. Now that I have got older, it’s a really big deal. Even before the Olympics, people thought it was so special that I have that. Now that this opportunity has come and I am able to use this and be a part of it, it just makes it that much better.”
Thybulle lost his mother to leukemia in 2015 but her love of Australia lives on. “I think she would be excited. My mum was never a huge basketball fan,” Thybulle said. “She enjoyed me pushing myself and growing in anything. In my case, that happened to be basketball where it happened the most. She would be happy for me to embrace my Australian side and to see how valuable our time was there when we were kids.”