The work ethic, the basketball IQ, and the raw talent -- it's all there with Trail Blazers big man Harry Giles.
The 22-year-old has been battle tested with injuries, but with his upside of being the best prep school player in the country, he still has all of that to prove.
And the time is now.
Last week, our Trail Blazers Insider Dwight Jaynes caught up with Giles one-on-one over a Zoom call.
With many topics discussed, the question of ‘why do you think you’re not playing more?’was a big one as many fans had been asking this very question.
For Giles, though, he knows that patience and taking the opportunities when they come are what's best for him.
“I’m just waiting on my time and staying patient,”Giles told Dwight Jaynes on Jan. 6. “It’s early in the season.”
Giles continued, “I think if I learn both, I’ll be able to get better with that. At the same time, it’s just waiting my turn too. That’s two great guys in front of me - at both positions the 4 and the 5 - I just have to stay patient and wait on my turn.”
That turn is here --
At the five.
Giles and Jaynes had the sitdown conversion just over a week before the team announced late in Portland’s loss to Indiana Thursday that Jusuf Nurkic had suffered a broken right wrist.
But even with all the disappointment surrounding the Nurkic news, the Blazers still know that Nurkic would want them to focus on where the team goes from here and still keep the season on the right track.
That's where Giles comes in.
Trail Blazers All-Star point guard Damian Lillard believes that with all the time he has seen Giles put in so far this season that the big fella is ready for a spot in the rotation and a big role with Nurkic out for the foreseeable future.
“Mentally, I think he’s a super confident young player,” Lillard added. “Every morning when I come into the facility, he’s on one of the baskets working on his game, sweating. I see him putting the time in, so I think a lot of players in the league - as the season goes on -- it’s hard to sustain that level of work when you’re not getting the opportunity so I think it’s right on time for him.”
Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts explained postgame Thursday that he will evaluate who will step in to start at center in the immediate future, saying that he will consider both Enes Kanter and Giles.
For his career in 111 games played, Giles holds averages of 6.7 points and 3.9 rebounds.
But as Lillard says, 'it’s right on time' for Giles to seize the opportunity and there’s no doubt they will need to rely on him, especially on defense with their defensive anchor now sidelined.
The good thing is: Giles is eager to bring that energy.
“I have a huge sense for that,” Giles said. “When I was in Sacramento, they called me ‘the energy guy.’ I knew when I came in, I knew what I needed to do. That’s always, regardless of what team I’m on. I just sense that in the game because that’s something I bring. When I go in, regardless of if there’s already energy, I want to bring more.”
And having Lillard believe in Giles, should have all Rip City believe in the former Duke Blue Devil.
“He played well in the preseason and he’s been in the gym," Lillard said. "He’s been preparing himself for whenever that opportunity came and I think now it’s here. I think he’ll be ready for it. We gonna need him to be.”