Josh Giddey is shooting better than ever: How Thunder hiring legendary shooting coach Chip Engelland is paying off

Josh Giddey entered the 2022-23 season with one major area of improvement top of mind — developing as a shooter. 

In the offseason, the Oklahoma City Thunder hired legendary shooting coach Chip Engelland, who spent 17 years with the San Antonio Spurs working with the likes of Kawhi Leonard, Tony Parker and Dejounte Murray. He helped that trio improve their shooting strokes and halfway through the season, that same work is already paying dividends on Giddey.

Coming off a rookie campaign where he shot just 26.3 percent from beyond the arc, Giddey has already lifted that number by nearly 10 percentage points (34.2 percent) and is currently hovering around the league average (35.7 percent).

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“Good things don’t happen overnight. These things take time and usually when you’re changing something you’ve done for years and years, there’s going to be some backward steps before there’s forward steps,” Giddey said of his development.

“So I’m trusting Chip. He is the best in the business at what he does. Confidence is unwavering, you know – being selective, taking the right shots – but whether they’re in this year, next year, or whatever, just trusting what he has in place because he’s done it for so long. His record speaks for itself.”

Josh Giddey’s career shooting splits
Season PTS FG% 3P% FT%
2022-23 15.3 47.0 34.2 78.8
2021-22 12.5 41.9 26.3 70.9

The raw numbers speak for themselves and his improvement as a free throw shooter serves as an indicator of his progress. In his last 15 games, Giddey is connecting on a scorching 92.9 percent at the line. 

And it’s not just a case of getting more shots up. He’s only taking 0.8 more triples this season, but the quality of shots that Giddey is hunting stands out. 

Playing alongside Shai Gigeous-Alexander, Giddey has improved his off-ball movement. He’s been lurking at the 3-point line in anticipation of the double teams SGA attracts, leveraging the threat of the Canadian’s drives to the basket.

Gilgeous-Alexander’s 24.4 drives per game lead the NBA and he has been the primary facilitator for Giddey’s catch-and-shoot 3s, which he is currently knocking down at a rate of 35.5 percent (up from 24.5 percent in his rookie season).

Per NBA stats, 92.3 percent of Giddey’s 3-pointers have been assisted. He is expertly finding open spots on the floor with 31 of his total 39 made 3s coming above the break.

His improved confidence in his shot has led to him taking — and making — more shots from range. 

Across his last 15 games, Giddey is averaging 1.4 3-point makes per game on 43.9 percent shooting from beyond the arc. While the volume isn’t there (3.2 3PA), his efficiency and the high quality of shot selection in the flow of the Thunder offense are proof the Aussie is letting the game come to him rather than forcing attempts from deep. 

He still has plenty of room for improvement creating shots off the dribble as a ball-handler, but the early signs of his offseason work are enough to show he is headed in the right direction.

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