Toronto Raptors scouts finish quarantine to watch Adelaide 36ers NBA draft bound rookie Josh Giddey


Two scouts from the Toronto Raptors will come out of a fortnight’s quarantine to watch Adelaide 36ers NBA draft-bound rookie Josh Giddey in Sydney and Wollongong in the coming days.

Raptors Director of Global Scouting Patrick Engelbrecht and a colleague will attend the 36ers’ away games against the Kings in Sydney on Sunday and the Hawks in Wollongong on Tuesday.

The fact Engelbrecht and his co-worker have flown halfway around the world when the Australian Government mandates any international traveller must quarantine for 14 days, means the Raptors are seriously interested in Giddey as a draft prospect.

The 18-year-old sensation is the No 13 prospect in ESPN’s Top 100 NBA draft rankings and could climb higher in the lottery.

Toronto, a proven development franchise and the 2019 NBA champions, would benefit hugely from a versatile guard like Giddey who excels in multiple facets of the game.

The Melbourne-born star has rewritten the record books with the Adelaide this season to become the youngest player in NBL history to record back-to-back triple doubles.

Giddey’s impressive form has prompted a raft of NBA scouts to put aside the quarantine challenges to travel Down Under.

On top of the Raptors, Golden State Warriors scout Michael Lee is in Australia to observe the development of Hawks guard Justinian Jessup after the Warriors drafted him with pick 51 in the 2019-20 NBA Draft.

Lee has watched Giddey play, and it’s understood he was impressed by the talented teen.

The New Orleans Pelicans also have a scout based in Melbourne, who has opted to stay in Australia longer to monitor Giddey and other NBA prospects.

Scouts visiting the NBL from America isn’t uncommon, and dates back years, but it is extra meaningful this season given the complexities around the coronavirus.

36ers general manager of basketball Jeff Van Groningen believes it is also a credit to Giddey’s standout rookie season.

“I think that is a testament to the way that Josh is achieving in his rookie year and the elite level of his talent that has been on show,” Van Groningen said.

“It is terrific that all NBA teams have been watching him, but some have physically taken on those enormous challenges to travel in these circumstances.

“They think, ‘hey, it’s worth it and I want to get here.”

The eyes of the basketball world have been on Giddey since he declared for the 2021 NBA draft.

He is also filming a documentary on his journey to the draft, but he has always personified professionalism.

Van Groningen praised Giddey for displaying class and composure well beyond his 18 years.

“It has been quite an amazing thing to observe the coolness and calmness that has continually been exuded by Josh,” he said.

“It is a testament to how grounded he is. It also stands him in good stead for those greater challenges that lie ahead, in terms of media attention.

“It has been a great process for him, because he is literally job training on the run for greater things.”