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NBL reserve to Rookie history: Josh Giddey's journey to All-Star weekend

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Josh Giddey makes history with third straight triple-double (2:28)

Oklahoma City's Josh Giddey joins Oscar Robertson as the only rookies to register triple-doubles in three consecutive games. (2:28)

As the attention of the NBA world shifts to All-Star weekend festivities, rising Oklahoma City Thunder star Josh Giddey etched his name in the record books once again in the last game before the break.

Recording his third consecutive triple-double on Thursday, Giddey joined 'Mr. Triple-Double' Oscar Robertson as the only rookies in league history to achieve the feat.

Giddey is surging into Rookie of the Year calculations and has become a League Pass darling in a meteoric rise that is remarkable when you consider it was just over twelve months ago that he was preparing to come off the bench for the Adelaide 36ers.

"I wasn't on any mock drafts, nobody knew who I was, so I was starting from the very bottom trying to build a name for myself," Giddey told ESPN.

"I landed in a really good situation, when (Adelaide GM) Jeff Van Gronigen recruited me, he told me that I would have the ball in my hands and a chance to play. I wasn't sure if that meant ten minutes or thirty minutes, so I went in there unknowing of my role on the team."

When veteran guard Donald Sloan agreed to a release with the team just weeks into the season, the door opened for Giddey to assume a major role immediately.

"It unlocked the gates for me. I moved into the starting role and ever since then I had the ball in my hands, and I was in a really fortunate position.

"(Head coach) Connor Henry was awesome for me, he let me play a lot of minutes. It could be tough for him, because he was coaching to win and if you don't win you don't have a job. It was hard for him to balance playing an 18-year-old and winning games. I think that team underachieved, I think we could have done much better in that year. Connor was an awesome coach, I loved him. He gave me a chance and a lot of where I'm at now I give credit to him and Jeff for allowing me to have that platform to get where I am."

En route to being selected with the sixth overall pick in the NBA draft, Giddey did encounter one roadblock, missing the final cut for the Boomers Olympic squad.

"Part of me is still mad at myself for not making that team. I feel like I didn't do enough that I could of to make it," Giddey admits.

"The other part is using it as fuel to the fire. I knew it was going to be a good case scenario either way. If I didn't go to the Olympics I got to go to the Draft. At the end of the day, I wasn't too sad when I thought about that, but obviously I would have wanted to be there in Tokyo helping us win a medal but I'm happy for the guys that got to go, and they won the first ever medal for the country, so it was a big achievement.

"Hopefully at the next Olympics we can make that a gold medal. I'm excited for getting back with those guys and competing for it."

As is the case for so many rookies trying to land on their feet in the NBA, situation matters. For Giddey, Oklahoma City presented an opportunity to play immediately, with a young rebuilding squad not expected to contend for the postseason over his first few seasons.

"It's different for a lot of players, you see some guys get drafted at ten to a contender whereas I'm at six to a rebuilding team. Situations are different for every player, and I got fortunate enough to go to a team where I knew there was going to be an opportunity from the start.

"It's an awesome group. I felt it as soon as I got here, I knew it was going to be a young team coming in, but I think that's the best part about it. We're all in similar parts of our journey in the NBA, we're all at the start of our careers. To grow with these guys together, it's been awesome. There are no egos on this team and that's the best part about it, we all want to succeed, and all want to do our part to win."

While wins may not be the ultimate measuring stick for success in 2021-22, the Thunder are just one win short of FiveThirtyEight's preseason projection of 19 wins with 24 games still to play in the regular season schedule.

Individually, Giddey's emergence continues with each month that passes, seemingly putting the blinders on to the inevitable rookie wall. Giddey ranks second among rookies for points (16.4) and rebounds (8.7) per game in February, while leading the class in assists (7.9) per outing.

"It's a long season, 82 games. The NBL, I played 28, so obviously it's a lot more here. The access we have to world class treatment, recovery, physios, stuff like that, there's really no excuse to not keep your body in check. Injuries are going to happen but the little things you can control is the important part about staying ready for 82 games of the season. I've been staying on top of that, it's help up well for the first 50 or so games. I can't really complain too much."

Up next, the Rising Stars game and Skills Challenge which will take place on Saturday and Sunday morning (AEDT) on ESPN. Fellow Australian and 2022 NBA draft prospect Dyson Daniels will also take part in the Rising Stars game, giving hoops fans a glimpse into the future of the Boomers.

"I'm very excited. Dyson being there is pretty cool, it would have been cooler if we were on the same team. Hopefully we play against each other, we'll catch up, but I'm excited for it.

"First All-Star weekend, getting to be there involved in it is a lifetime opportunity. Kids dream of this, so I won't take it for granted and I'll definitely enjoy the weekend."

From NBL reserve to All-Star weekend in the space of twelve months. Not bad for an athlete still over 200 days from his twentieth birthday.