Ever since he shined in the preseason series against the Sacramento Kings, Portland Trail Blazers fans have been yearning for increased minutes for Harry Giles.
In four games, Giles averaged 10.8 points and 9.0 rebounds per game including a monstrous 18-point, 14-rebound performance to open the preseason. But in the regular season, he struggled to see the floor behind Jusuf Nurkić and Enes Kanter on the depth chart.
Now with Nurkić's fractured wrist surgery, the former King will get his chance to show he's a rotation caliber player in the NBA.
"Of course," responded Giles Friday if he's excited to see increased playing time. "It's my time to play. My number's going to be called so that's my opportunity."
Portland signed Giles to a one-year, $1,678,854 contract this past offseason to add depth at the center position after Sacramento chose to decline Giles' fourth-year option for $3.97 million. Heading into his freshman season at Duke, Giles was ranked as the nation's No. 2 high school prospect.
Over the next six weeks, Giles has the chance to show he's not a bust.
Obviously, no one is happy that Bosnian Beast suffered another injury which will cause him to miss time. Including Giles who has dealt with demoralizing injuries since high school where he tore his right ACL during his senior season. His knee injuries would follow him into his lone collegiate season at Duke and the beginning of his NBA career in Sacramento.
After that experience, Giles doesn't want Nurk to return until he's fully recovered.
"Just take care of his body and get back fully 100%. I know how it is with just injuries and stuff like that. Just trying to get yourself back together."
In the meantime, the 6'11", 240-pound center will hold down the fort in the paint. But to prove his worth in the game, he needs to nail everything in practice and get better every day.
"I think I'm getting better," explained Giles. "I think my consistency comes with reps. I think just getting comfortable and getting used to being out there.
"I'm getting to a point in my career where I feel comfortable and felt pretty consistent on my game so for me now it's just getting back to that point. Finding a rhythm and just sticking with it. I think now being able to practice a little bit helps. Just being able to find a rhythm."
With the Blazers series against Memphis getting postponed to the second half of the season, Portland was able to hold practices this week which Giles found highly beneficial.
"Before it was just games every other day, not much time to practice, but now the last two games being off it helps today. I got better today."
The practice time hasn't just benefitted Giles but the entire Trail Blazers team.
"Very important to just be able to come in here and tighten up on things we need to get better on," said Giles. "We can talk about it after the game and want to do it but it's hard to work on it when you have a game the next day. There's only so much you can really do."
Now with a few more practices under his belt, Giles cannot wait to see the hard work pay off on the floor.
"I think this week's been great for us. Great energy in the gym and we've been getting better so excited to see what we can do Sunday."
Portland hosts the New York Knicks on Sunday, January 24th at 7:00 p.m. PT here on NBC Sports Northwest, the official home of the Portland Trail Blazers.