Harry Giles is one of the most charismatic players to come through Sacramento. He has an energy and passion that has made him a fan favorite, even before he stepped on the floor to play his first game in a Kings uniform.
In Saturday night’s win over the San Antonio Spurs, Giles went up for a dunk in the fourth quarter and was swatted away by Jakob Poeltl. Moments later, Giles got another chance to finish at the rim and he didn’t disappoint.
Giles 🔥 pic.twitter.com/oK7taJmfnG— Kings on NBCS (@NBCSKings) February 9, 2020
The 21-year-old big hammered down the dunk, picked up a foul and turned to the crowd, telling them to get on their feet.
Golden 1 Center broke out into “Harry, Harry, Harry!” chants and the legend of Harry Giles grew larger.
“Yeah, you know we've got a little bond,” Giles said following the win. “They're my people, you know what I'm sayin'. We share a different kind of relationship so I always make sure to give them a shout out. I feel it in my body, so I have to let it out.”
Giles set a new career-high of 12 rebounds during the game. He added eight points and an assist in a season-high 28 minutes of play. He was two points shy of his first career double-double, but he’s starting to figure things out on the court.
“I had some little bunnies I missed in the first half, but it’s not about the points,” Giles said. “I’m more excited about the rebounds if anything and the win. For me, it’s just keep pushing, keep chipping away and onto the next one.”
After redshirting his rookie season to rehab and build up his surgically repaired knees, Giles showed flashes of being a special player last season. He got off to a rough start with the Kings’ new coaching staff during training camp and sat out all of the preseason and the first eight games of the season with a knee issue.
With the trade of Dewayne Dedmon and injuries to both Richaun Holmes and Marvin Bagley, Giles is getting another shot to prove he belongs. He’s started three of the last four games for coach Luke Walton and he’s starting to settle into a role. Against the Spurs, Walton even allowed Giles to finish the fourth quarter, which hasn’t happened in the past.
“That was huge, for me, it was my chance to step up and bust it all the way open,” Giles said. “We got a 20-point lead, so for me, it was keeping up that lead and that tempo and just doing everything I can to make sure we win the game. I was thankful for the opportunity, so I’m just going to make the most of it.”
One of the biggest issues Giles has faced this season is playing defense without fouling. Against San Antonio, he held his ground, played the well in the pick-and-roll switches and avoided ticky-tack fouls.
“The more you play, the more accustomed and adjusted you get to the game, you could say that happened tonight,” Giles said. “Just being smarter. When you’re in the game and you play more, you start seeing the same situation multiple times, so you know when and when not to be too overly aggressive. And sometimes they flop, but you can’t help that.”
Veteran LaMarcus Aldridge flopped early on a jump shot attempt and Giles was called for a personal, although the replay showed it was a questionable call. Aldridge tried to do the same play later in the game, but Giles avoided contact as Aldridge once again fell to the floor.
Giles wasn’t perfect, but he’s starting to earn his minutes. With Bagley’s health being in question for the remainder of the season, Giles might get a chance to grow into his role with the team.
Sacramento chose not to pick up Giles’ fourth-year option, which means he is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. They still can re-sign him, but they are limited to a one-year, $4 million deal.
According to multiple sources, the team hasn’t given up on Giles and will still consider bringing him back next season. The team was disappointed in his work ethic over the summer and they want to see him earn his contract for next year.
As of now, Giles is auditioning for all 30 teams in the league. He’s playing better basketball and there is no question that the Kings’ fanbase is hoping he’ll be back for another run with the team next year.