We have a developing development to discuss. In a season that was supposed to be about bringing along the young players, the Kings have gone and let winning get in the way.
There is a different approach that a team takes when they are 15-36 through 51 games. The focus shifts to playing the young guys. At 26-25, there is a playoff picture to think about. Minutes are earned and not handed out like candy at Halloween.
Sacramento is at a convergence of these two ideas. Young players are earning minutes. Young players are leading. Young players are winning games.
You don’t have to squint hard to see what the future is for the Kings. It’s staring you right in the face.
De’Aaron Fox is the head of the snake. Buddy Hield is the scorer. Bogdan Bogdanovic is the swiss army knife and Marvin Bagley III is the double-double waiting to happen.
And then there is this Harry Giles kid.
The Kings will tell you they knew exactly what they were getting themselves into when they drafted the former prep star with the 20th pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. They knew the talent was hiding in there, which is why they redshirted him for a season to allow his body to heal and get stronger.
After missing his senior year in high school, playing just 300 minutes at Duke and sitting his first year in the NBA, Giles looked every bit the part of a 17-year-old player in a 20-year-old’s body in the first half of the season.
“He worked hard, he was struggling at the beginning of the year, it was too fast for him,” general manager Vlade Divac told NBC Sports California following Giles’ breakout game against the Hawks on Wednesday. “I think a few games down in Stockton helped him slow down the game.”
With playing time hard to come by, the Kings have sent Giles to their G League affiliate multiple times trying to get him more court time. The trips to the Stockton Kings seem to have helped.
51 games into the season, Giles is starting to calm down and he’s starting show flashes of brilliance. If he continues to build on his recent success, the Kings might have another piece to the puzzle to pair alongside Bagley on the frontline.
“They both have different strengths, but at the same time, both have pretty good vision and are willing passers,” coach Dave Joerger said. “They’re able to look for each other.”
Neither player has shown the ability to consistently shoot from the perimeter, but they have a connection on the court. In a league going away from two conventional bigs, Giles and Bagley are building chemistry on the court and working around their limitations.
“Absolutely,” Divac said when asked if he sees Giles and Bagley as a long-term pairing in Sacramento. “They can complement each other. Marvin is a very aggressive rebounder on offense, Harry’s on defense. Harry can pass, Marvin can score. It’s going to take time to learn how to play with each other, but definitely I see them as a good duo.”
The two compete for rebounds, but it’s all in fun. They feed each other with crafty passes and can be seen running down the court high-fiving each other like the two kids that they are.
"If you think about it, this is both of our first year's playing professional basketball, so I just know how much better we can be,” Giles said of his paring with Bagley. “We've just got to stay patient, stay humble and just trust our process."
There is a lot to like in the early returns, but as they learn how to stretch the floor and extend their shooting range, the two former Duke University stars will become even more dangerous.
“I like playing with Harry because he can pass the ball very well, he can dribble, he can rebound, he can score, he can do it all,” Bagley said. “Being able to have somebody else on the floor who you know is going to compete, you know is going to go hard, you know is going to try to win every game, just like I want to win, just like everyone on this team wants to win.”
This is going to be a process. The backcourt has developed together over last season and the early part of this year. There is hope that Giles and Bagley can grow together as well.
The two rookies play with an aggressive energy and they are both hard workers off the court. There is a healthy competition between the duo, but they also want to see each other succeed.
“We’re going through the same journey,” Giles said. “We come from similar backgrounds too, so it’s easy for us to kind of feed off each other and we want to see each other do good, but help each other at the same time.”
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It’s early for both players, but there is an outline of what the future might hold for the Sacramento Kings. It hasn’t been a smooth ride so far, but this is what you are to expect when you pair two rookies.
“It’s been a roller coaster,” Giles said. “Be it good games, bad games, complete games, horrible games. It’s just mixing them all together and try to make it one and just being patient with it.”
Giles warned that he’ll have more bad games in the future. He is starting to understand that the ride to the top often has a few stops along the way. If the tandem of Giles and Bagley can develop together and live up to their potential, Sacramento very well could have something cooking.