Talent and charisma ooze out of rookie Harry Giles. After sitting out all but 300 minutes over the previous three years, the 21-year-old big finally made his debut this season for the Sacramento Kings.
The early reviews weren’t great. Giles struggled to settle in during the first few months of the season and it was hard for coach Dave Joerger and his staff to keep him on the floor. He picked up fouls at an alarming rate, turned the ball over and forced shots on the offensive end.
After two trips to the G League, Giles finally found his sea legs and showed flashes of what makes him such an intriguing prospect.
The up and down season make a deep dive into the statistic difficult, but there is still plenty to glean from Giles’ 58-game rookie campaign.
Stats: 7.0 points, 1.5 assists, 3.8 rebounds, .5 steals, 50.3% FG, 14.1 min
Is it too kind to just throw away the first three months of the season when considering Giles’ initial season in the league? It’s really the only option we have when breaking down an 820-minute sample size.
Once Joerger turned to Giles off the bench for consistent playing time, he found a capable passer and offensive cog. Giles posted the fourth-highest usage rate on the team, behind De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield and Marvin Bagley. Of the regulars, only Fox, Yogi Ferrell and Bogdan Bogdanovic posted a higher assist rate than the rookie big.
In the 14 games Giles suited up for following the All-Star break, he posted 9.6 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 18.1 minutes per game. He averaged a plus 7.7 points per game in the plus/minus category over that stretch.
Giles has an assortment of offensive moves. He hit 39.3 percent on jumpers from 10-16 feet. When his jumper started falling and the defense moved closer, he was able to show flashes off the dribble. And when the Kings needed a scorer in the block, the former high school star stepped forward, hitting 68.6 percent at the rim.
When Marvin Bagley missed time due to injury, Giles took over for stretches during games. He has the potential to become a solid two-way player and a his above average passing skills for a big man open up plenty of new play options in the Kings’ offensive scheme.
Tough and physical, Giles has the potential to develop into an elite defender. He brings an attitude to the floor, which on occasion gets him in trouble, but it’s easier to adjust a flame than it is to light one.
There were times where Giles was pushed around in the block by bigger players, but he has a frame that can take plenty of additional muscle. There were also games where Giles lacked explosiveness, but again, he barely stepped on a court for three years.
Like fellow rookie Bagley, Giles struggled with schemes, but he made adjustments as he became familiar with the NBA game. He allowed a plus 0.2 percent field goal against overall, but a negative 0.4 inside of six feet, a negative 0.6 inside of 10 feet and a negative 0.6 greater than 15 feet.
As the season pushed on, Giles improved dramatically. He stopped picking up cheap fouls and he improved as a team defender. He even posted a solid plus 0.2 percent against on 3-point shooters and showed an ability to stay in front of multiple types of player.
Per 36 minutes, Giles averaged 1.4 steals and 1.0 blocks per game. He needs to improve on the defensive glass, but as he becomes stronger and more comfortable at the NBA level, there is potential for massive improvement.
A focal leader on the floor, Giles has the potential to develop into a defensive anchor for Sacramento.
A late season thigh bruise cost Giles time late in the season, but all things considered, it was an impressive start by the former Duke Blue Devil.
Whether the Kings believe he is a long-term starter or a rotational player off Luke Walton’s bench is still unknown. The team’s approach to free agency will likely tell a lot about Giles’ future in Sacramento.
It’s clear Giles needs to get stronger if he is going to play the bulk of his minutes at the five. He has good size and great awareness, but he missed a ton of development time as a young player and patience is needed.
Off the court, the 6-foot-10 big already has plenty of fans within the walls of Golden 1 Center. He brings a charisma and confidence that you don’t often find in a player this age. If he can stay healthy, Giles looks like a long-term contributor in Sacramento.