Harry Giles seems like the prototypical center prospect in the NBA, and Sacramento is banking on him unlocking his potential after selecting him with the NO. 20 pick in the 2017 NBA draft.
Giles has torn both ACLs, one in 2013 as a high school freshman and one in 2016 as a high school senior. Before the second one, Giles was one of the best recruits in the country and was being discussed as potentially the No. 1 overall pick. Giles falling into Sacramento’s lap could be the best place for him to regain his form after an uneven season at Duke.
Giles is a long, lanky center standing at 6’10 with a 7’3 wingspan. His ability to protect the rim, even without elite athleticism, speaks for itself. He averaged 2.3 blocks per 40 minutes at Duke last season along with 13.6 points and 13.3 rebounds per 40.
The potential for Giles to put up similar numbers every night, even in potentially limited minutes, was too much for the Kings to pass up on.
Why should Kings fans be excited about Giles?
His rim protection
The best shot teams in the NBA can get are easy looks at the rim. Looks at the rim lead to two things: easy buckets or free throws. With Giles, the Kings won’t have to worry about protecting the rim. He does tend to foul quicker players, but that can be coached out with time.
Giles’ length can’t be taught. He’s undersized for a traditional center at 6’10, but he uses his wingspan to make up for it. And that makes it all the more difficult for opponents to finish around him. (Video via ACC Digital Network)
Having Giles to help on the back end makes defense a lot easier for perimeter players.
His foot speed
Though he’s suffered through multiple ACL tears, Giles is still a quick and nimble big man. That skill can get players paid maximum dollars in the NBA and is invaluable in today’s perimeter-oriented game.
If big men are able to step out and play two or three seconds on the perimeter before recovering to the paint, they can blow up an offense’s play. Giles’ ability to do that will certainly help Sacramento moving forward. His size is more than enough to spook guys into not taking shots, and his length is enough to close easy lanes around him. (Video via Tobias Berger)
His finishing ability
Giles doesn’t just get the job done on the defensive end. He’s also a great finisher at the rim offensively.
He doesn’t soak up a bunch of possessions with post touches, but he has a capable hook shot with both hands. He’s at his best finishing plays in the pick and roll, with agile touch through or around contact.
Giles shot 57 percent from two-point range while at Duke last season. Most of those were straight-up dunks and finishes at the rim, and he managed to do that despite playing without a solid, facilitating guard at Duke.
Is there any reason to be nervous about Harry Giles?
The obvious weakness Giles has is his health. He tore his ACL, MCL, and meniscus in his left knee in 2013. Then, to start his senior season in high school, he tore his right ACL as well.
With modern medicine and proper rehab, recovery from ligament damage is not as daunting as it used to be. But still, it’s definitely something to monitor with him. Knees are very obviously important in basketball, and both of his have already sustained a large amount of damage.
Hopefully, he’ll have a healthy NBA career. But there’s probably a good chance he doesn’t.
Tell me something else about Harry Giles
At one point, Giles was pegged as the No. 1 recruit in the country. He averaged 17.8 points and 11.5 rebounds per game with his AAU team, the CP3 All-Stars, in 2015. He went down with the ACL tear the very next season, but was a promising prospect.
That means he has one of the best Ball is Life mixtapes you’ll ever see. And get this: he was just 16 years old.