Australian rookie Josh Giddey has made an immediate impression on the NBA stage, turning heads with a mature performance in Oklahoma City Thunder's opening pre-season game.
The Thunder lost 113-97 to the Charlotte Hornets, but the No.6 draft pick excited fans by showcasing his passing ability and feel around the rim.
Melbourne-raised Giddey, who managed just five minutes in the Summer League before hurting an ankle, was in the action from the outset and took on greater ball-handling duties as the game wore on.
The 203cm point-guard dazzled with a cross-court, left-handed pass to Theo Maledon and finished with a team-high 18 points, along with seven rebounds and three assists in 29 minutes of play.
Giddey, who turns 19 on Sunday, shot the ball at 8-for-12 from the field and 2-for-4 from long range.
"I didn't have any expectation (on Giddey), it's early," Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault said.
"As we know, there's a lot of ups and downs.
"He looked like that in practice but you never know until the game starts.
"He looked comfortable out there."
Giddey was named NBL Rookie of the Year last season after starring for the Adelaide 36ers.
Fellow former NBL guard LaMelo Ball was in form for Charlotte, finishing with 15 points, six assists and five rebounds in the Hornets' win.
Elsewhere, Australian centre Jock Landale had eight points, six rebounds and three assists in 15 minutes off the bench as the San Antonio Spurs scored a 111-85 win over the Utah Jazz.
Landale shot the ball at 2-for-4 from long range and threw down a dunk to open his scoring account, but also committed five turnovers.
Australian Associated Press