SACRAMENTO -- Harry Giles is back on the court and ready to help the Kings after missing training camp and the first eight games of the regular season.
The 21-year-old big man played seven minutes in Friday’s win over the Atlanta Hawks, and survived the game without any setbacks.
“I’m just happy to be back out on the floor playing the game I love, what I work hard for every day, what I call my life,” Giles told a small group of media members Sunday after Kings practice. “It’s good to get back to that.”
According to Giles, he is 100 percent healthy and ready to contribute moving forward. He felt “amazing” after his first game and is ready to move forward with the team.
“I was happy for him to be able to get out there and play, I know what it’s like coming off of injuries and it can be frustrating,” coach Luke Walton said. “There’s nothing better than getting back out there on that court.”
Giles plays with an edge when he steps on the floor. His block against Hawks rookie De’Andre Hunter a little over two minutes into his first game action is the type of play that the Kings need on defense and his overall game was strong for someone who hadn’t played in a regular-season game since March 21.
“I thought he did a very good job,” Walton said. “He gives us a physical player that brings a bit of a toughness and swagger with him on the court. It was nice to have that addition to our team.”
Giles has the ability to add a new wrinkle to the Kings’ offense. He’s a big that can really pass, especially from the high post. With all of the Kings’ shooters, having another playmaker on the court is a welcomed sight.
After sitting out the final 11 games of last season with a thigh contusion and then having soreness in his left knee to open camp, Giles is going to need time to get his rhythm on the court. Counting the win over Atlanta, he’s now played in just 59 games since being selected with the 20th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.
With plenty of other options in the post, Giles needs to find a niche that will keep him on the court. Even more importantly, he needs to stay healthy after a series of knee issues dating back to his prep days.
“I’m just trying to be the best [player] for the team as I can as far as on the defensive end, rebounding and just getting myself back in the rhythm of playing,” Giles said.
Sacramento passed on picking up Giles’ fourth-year rookie option on Oct. 31, making him an unrestricted free agent come July 1. The team hasn’t given up on the talented young center, but they also weren’t willing to guarantee him $4 million in salary for next season.
“I’m great, I’m ready to play basketball, that’s out of my hands,” Giles told NBC Sports California when asked about his contract status with the Kings.
Charismatic and extremely talented, Giles appears ready to move forward from the situation. He’s looking to Tuesday’s matchup with the Portland Trail Blazers as another opportunity and a chance to play in front of the Kings’ home crowd.
Harry Giles on his health, how he fits with Kings and playing his first game of the season at Golden 1 Center. pic.twitter.com/b9L6MlkI9I— James Ham (@James_HamNBCS) November 10, 2019
“Tuesday is going to be crazy, man, just to get back out there and hear those roars again, just to get it going,” Giles said. “I feel like when you play here, there’s another speed, another feeling. There’s no place like this place when you’re in there.”
There are a lot of people pulling for Giles to succeed. It wouldn’t be a shock to see him receive a huge ovation from the home crowd when he checks in for the first time, be that on Tuesday or sometime in the near future.