Harry Giles

Kings continue to balance development, winning in surprise season

Kings continue to balance development, winning in surprise season

SACRAMENTO -- Coming into the 2018-19 season, the Kings' plan was to develop the young guys. That idea had to be augmented early in the campaign when Sacramento decided to make winning a priority as well.

This isn’t an easy task for Dave Joerger and his staff. Balancing a roster filled with young players has its challenges, especially when games matter.

It hasn’t always been pretty. There have been plenty of ups and downs, but through 69 games, the Kings have not only fought to stay in playoff contention, but they are identifying a core that they can build around for the long haul.

The starting backcourt of De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield was the first to make the leap, but there are others on the rise as well.

[RELATED: Fox believes Kings 'growing,' details franchise's next step]

Bogdan Bogdanovic has struggled as of late, but he looks like a long-term fixture in the rotation. The Harrison Barnes addition at the deadline brought in another young body and Willie Cauley-Stein has had moments for the Kings.

It doesn’t end there for Sacramento. Down the stretch of the season, the young duo of Marvin Bagley and Harry Giles are forming a fierce frontline for the future.

Giles struggled with foul trouble early in the year, but he’s continued to improve as the season has progressed. Joerger has slowly increased his role with the team and he’s answered the call.

“I’m starting to come into myself,” Giles said following Sacramento’s win over the Bulls on Sunday. “Just taking my time, patience. It’s all starting to come along for me. It took some time, but it’s right where I want to be. [I’m] making the right steps and I’m just going to keep going with it.”

After redshirting last season, the former Duke product has shown statistical improvement every month this season. In March, he’s taking his game to the next level, posting 11.0 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 19.9 minutes per game.

Giles has cleaned up a lot of his early mistakes, especially on the defensive end. He hasn’t had a breakout rebounding game, but he’s showing flashes as a passer and shot-blocker.

Taken with the second overall selection in the 2018 NBA Draft, Bagley came into the league with all kinds of fanfare. He’s lived up to the hype in year one, although injuries have set him back twice.

Bagley hit his stride in February, averaging 17.5 points and 9.4 rebounds in 29.2 minutes per game before going down with a left knee sprain.

Against Chicago, he totaled 21 points and nine rebounds in just 21 minutes as he continued to work through a minutes restriction with the Kings’ medical staff.

As good as they’ve been individually, the two 20-year-olds are showing signs of some incredible chemistry. They are making reads and cuts and they are looking for each other.

“There’s a lot of times where Harry could have gone up and scored a basket, but he decided to pass, and there are times where I could have had a bucket to score, but I see Harry and return the favor,” Bagley said. “We’re just playing off each other and having fun with it at the same time.”

Giles is the lunch pail guy. He’s physical and making his presence felt. Bagley is the scorer with the jaw-dropping athleticism and advanced offensive game. Both play with intensity and have big-time motors.

“I feed off of all my teammates, that’s what I try to do,” Giles said. “But with Marvin, he just brings so much energy so it’s not hard to feed off of him. I think he’s an easy guy to play with, especially for me.”

[RELATED: Kings' Giles explains the origins of the 'Litty Committee']

The pair has been together for just part of one season, but they have an opportunity to develop into something special. They both need to get stronger in the offseason and the sooner they are able to extend their shooting range, the better.

“It’s the start of something that can be -- who knows,” Giles said. “It’s our first year. We’ve had some success, but we have to take it with a grain of salt, knowing that anything can happen.”

Anything can happen, but if Giles and Bagley put in the work and make a jump anywhere close to what Fox and Hield accomplished, the Kings have the foundation of a winner.

Kings rookie Harry Giles explains the origins of the 'Litty Committee'

Kings rookie Harry Giles explains the origins of the 'Litty Committee'

The Sacramento Kings aren’t new to quality bench nicknames. 
 
The "Bench Mob" and the "Goon Squad" hyped up fans in purple long before there was #PurpleTalk. 
 
But this season, the Kings’ bench has adopted a moniker, the "Litty Committee," that is synonymous with both the second unit and a dance group they started to add energy to tip-off.
 
In the latest episode of Kings Central -- debuting March 19 after Kings Postgame Live on NBC Sports California -- rookie Harry Giles III explains the origins of the Litty Committee while getting pedicures with Kayte Hunter. 
 
Kayte Hunter: You’re kind of at the forefront of that Litty Committee, that pregame dancing. How did that whole thing get started?
 
Harry Giles III: It’s weird. It’s weird. We started off, we started dapping hands at the scorer’s table before the game and I would just run down and dap everybody up and then we just started jumping. That’s how it kind of got started. But it started with me and Ben [McLemore III]. When I would do that, me and Ben, Ben McLemore would be at the end. He’s the person I would dap up last every time and he would always just be jumping and bouncing around and I kind of just started doing it with him. I would dap him and we just started bouncing together, we started jumping together. Then I think Frank [Mason III] and Marvin [Bagley III], they just started bouncing with us too. Because, you know, they were all just standing there and it was just a way to get ourselves going. And next thing you know the whole team was doing it. And then we started winning some jump balls, some we didn’t. So it kind of sparked a little convo with it like ‘Ah, we gotta stop doing it’ but I’m like ‘nah, this is a way to get us going.’
 
KH: Well, and then Frank took it to the, the whole dancing. He took it to the next level with that. And then [Bogdan Bogdanovic] getting involved; it’s hilarious. 
 
HG: It’s crazy because Frank is the ringleader of a lot of stuff that goes on with the Kings and nobody really knows it. Like even with the lingo we use, from block boy, to talk, all the talk, anything talk, purple talk, gang talk, king talk, whatever it is. All that’s from Frank Mason, you know what I’m saying? You know, we started saying, me and him would always just have this little lingo and then we just brought it to the team. But he had a lot to do with a lot of that. And even just the dancing, you know, he brings his own little goofy dance into it, man. And just him, who he is, and just his demeanor made it so much more funny too. So, you know, you got to love him, man. He’s done so much behind the scenes that nobody knows.
 
Programming note: New episodes of Kings Central debut monthly during the NBA season on NBC Sports California. 

Kings Under Review: Rookie bigs continue to shine in blowout win over Bulls

Kings Under Review: Rookie bigs continue to shine in blowout win over Bulls

SACRAMENTO -- You could feel the relief walking into the Kings' locker room Sunday evening. After a brutal 1-3 road trip, the Kings needed some home cooking and a dysfunctional opponent to take their frustrations out on.

That is exactly what they found in the Chicago Bulls.

After a sluggish start in the first quarter, Sacramento pounded the Bulls, leading by as many as 37 points on their way to a 129-102 blowout victory. Five players scored in double-figures for the Kings and another three scored eight or more as they snapped their three-game losing streak and picked up their 21st home victory of the season.

Sacramento moved back to within one game of the .500 mark at 34-35. Here are the positives and the negatives from the win:

POSITIVE

Marvin Bagley is healthy

You never know how a player is going to respond to an injury. Bagley is quickly showing that he has no ill effects from the knee sprain that cost him five games and he's ready to compete.

The rookie big attacked the Bulls with a variety of moves, but he's more than just a young player with an advanced offensive game. Bagley has a motor that won't stop and he continues to improve with every opportunity.

Against the Bulls, the 20-year-old dropped in 21 points on 9-of-14 shooting and added nine rebounds in just 21 minutes of action. 

Injuries have cost Bagley 19 games this season. He needs to work on his body in the offseason and extend his range, but this is a top-tier talent that is ready to explode on the scene as a sophomore.

POSITIVE

Harry Giles has a streak

Giles has strung together double-figure scoring in six of the last nine games, but that's not the streak we are talking about. Despite his age, Giles can be down right mean and nasty, which is something the Sacramento Kings need.

He picked up his fourth technical of the season against Chicago for an exchange with Robin Lopez and the rookie big almost got tossed against the Celtics two games ago.

An energy player on your roster that doesn't mind mixing it up on occasion is a must and Giles is that guy.

Against the Bulls, he posted 16 points, six rebounds, three assists, three blocks and a steal. He's turning into a big time rotational player for Sacramento and looks like a future front court partner for Bagley.

POSITIVE

Fox sets the table

De'Aaron Fox has taken a tremendous leap in his second NBA season. He looks like a star in the making and for Sacramento. He's become the player that sets the tempo of the game.

Chicago isn't the Celtics or the 76ers. They aren't even as good as the Wizards. But they are still an NBA team with plenty of talent.

Knowing his team needed a win, you could see Fox pushing the tempo on every possession and when the Bulls started to bend, the Kings' starting point guard helped put them away.

Fox walked into last summer with a long list of items he needed to improve on. He'll do the same this summer, but now the list is shorter and more specific.

POSITIVE

34 wins

The Kings don't usually get four positives, but when you steam roll a team and take care of business early, you receive praise.

This seems like an odd item to celebrate, but the Kings picked up their 34th victory of the season on Monday evening. This is the first time since the 2007-08 season that the Kings have reached the plateau.

[RELATED: Kings rookie Harry Giles explains the origins of the 'Litty Committee']

Sacramento isn't where they want to be. They were hoping to be closer to the playoff pack down the stretch. But with 13 games remaining in the season, they have an opportunity to pick up plenty of more wins and possibly even make a run at the .500 mark for the first time since Rick Adelman stepped away following the 2005-06 season.

Progress should be celebrated.