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Examining Harry Giles’ spot in the rotation

The frontcourt will be healthier and that means Harry Giles could see a change in minutes. 

With the Sacramento Kings frontcourt appearing to be at its healthiest point since opening day, Harry Giles, who became a prominent player pre-hiatus, could see a shift in his role when the season resumes.

The first few months of the season were extremely confusing for the 6’11” center now in his second season. Not necessarily right away, as Dewayne Dedmon, Nemanja Bjelica, Richaun Holmes saw the majority of the frontcourt minutes. Harrison Barnes and Trevor Ariza occasionally slid to the four position on rotations as well, especially when head coach Luke Walton stuck to eight-man rotations when injuries began to accumulate. 

Frustrations would begin to mount as Giles wouldn’t see the floor even when opportunities presented themselves. Many pointed to the fact that Sacramento declined to pick up his option, thus letting Giles walk easier in free agency if he chose to do so. By declining his option and not including him in the rotation, even when they needed a spark, Giles’ value dwindled every minute he didn’t play. 

But the Kings’ frontcourt situation began to rot and needed a fresh insertion into the basket. Giles finally received the nod in late December, putting up 11 points, three rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block while shooting 4-7 from the floor. 

Giles displays phenomenal court vision for a player his size. He’s bound for one “wow, how did he make that pass?” a game. No other big on the roster could match that skill. As the season progressed, Holmes went down again with an injury, Atlanta traded for Dedmon and the door swung wide open for Giles to start. Walton made the move. 

Giles’ first start came against Miami on Feb. 7 and though he only played 14 minutes in that win, he put up 10 points, five rebounds and a steal on 5-5 shooting. He only fouled once, but Walton opted to give Bjelica and Barnes the frontcourt minutes to match up against the Heat.

The starting center role would stay with Giles until the season resumed and he flashed the potential the league has waited to see since the Kings drafted him in the first round of the 2017 spot. 

In the three starts after the Miami game, Giles averaged 9.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 2.6 fouls and 57% shooting. In ten games after the All-Star break, those averages became 10.8 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 3.6 fouls and 58% shooting. 

The Kings went 7-3 in the 10 games after All-Star weekend in which Giles started along with De’Aaron Fox, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Barnes and Bjelica. But there were downsides to Giles’ game. 

His defense was unreliable and inconsistent. He’d make the occasional block but labeling Giles as a rim-protector is a false characterization. Giles’ net rating was also a -10.1, per NBA.com and his defensive field goal percentage didn’t fare well either. His DIFF% when it came to defending shots overall was a poor +9.6. That’s cash money for opposing players on offense. 

Once he came to Sacramento, Alex Len’s defensive ability became exceptionally beneficial against players of all sizes, but Giles needed more work on that end of the floor. However, even when the roster is at full health, there’s no big man that can replicate the vision and passing Giles brings to the table. 

The question remains whether Giles’ skills are more worthy of minutes than Holmes and Len when the season resumes. Bjelica and Barnes may get the bulk of the minutes at the four, depending on Marvin Bagley’s health. Holmes solidified himself as the starting center with his rise this season and that shouldn’t change. Len accepted his role and excelled in it upon arriving in Sacramento. 

There may be a position battle for the backup center role as that’s likely where any spot for minutes lie for Giles. He played 99% of 579 minutes this season at center under Walton so it’s difficult to imagine him going back to the four, where he played 67% of 820 minutes. 

We’ll see what Walton does as the targeted date for the season’s resumption approaches. 

 

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karl swinney
4 months ago

I like Harry, he’s fun to watch. Not sure how much he would be worth on the market. But if the Kings end up with him I wont be disappointed.

Migz J
4 months ago

Can his position be ‘wild card’? Throw him into the mix randomly and keep his minutes super inconsistent so he can’t be scouted accurately.
 
I see no drawbacks to this method.

Adam Dieter
4 months ago

How Kangz would it be for Giles to come out of the gates on fire, be a key contributor to a playoff push by the Kings, only to walk in free agency, while Bagley can’t break the rotation for the final 8 games.

Ican Hascheezburger
4 months ago
Reply to  Adamsite

Kangz 2.0 = Giles walks to Dallas. Forms Glory-Era Kings-like team with Luka Doncic and Willie Cauley Stein.
 
 

Last edited 4 months ago by Kosta
Adam Dieter
4 months ago
Reply to  Kosta

You jest, but just wait until free agency when Dallas throws big money at Bogi, and the Kings balk into a sign and trade for Hardaway Jr. and Finney-Smith

Ican Hascheezburger
4 months ago
Reply to  Adamsite

Luka, Bogi, Willie-Cauley Stein, Harry Giles….and heck, Justin Jackson winning playoff games for the Dallas Mavericks would be another reason to fire Vlade.

Adam Dieter
4 months ago
Reply to  Kosta

Don’t forget Seth Curry. Vlade pulled the QO on him in 2016.

Ican Hascheezburger
4 months ago
Reply to  Adamsite

comment image

Rory Cornell
4 months ago
Reply to  Adamsite

I wouldn’t complain about that trade.

Adam Dieter
4 months ago
Reply to  RORDOG

Bogi for Hardaway and Finney-Smith? How is that good for the Kings?

Eric W
4 months ago
Reply to  Adamsite

Beware role players getting fat on easy spot up threes and lay-ups spoon fed by Doncic.

David Sheehy
4 months ago
Reply to  Kosta

I was with you until you mentioned Willy.

Tim Johnson
4 months ago

I feel Giles plays better away from basket. Not the 3 but the elbow. Better fit as PF rather than Center. Bagley is better under the basket.

Adam Dieter
4 months ago
Reply to  SanjeshSingh

Agreed, because of his passing ability on the high post, defense tend to sag off of him to shut down passing lanes. If he had a reliable jumper from 18-20′, he could be a key cog to any team.

Eric W
4 months ago
Reply to  Adamsite

FUN FACT!
 
Giles shot 46.6% from the “Mid-range” this season. That percentage is 2nd in the league among Cs (as defined by NBA.com which includes all your PF-C types. Basically, all “Bigs”) that took more than 1 per game. Behind only Love.
 

Last edited 4 months ago by BestHyperboleEver
Adam Dieter
4 months ago

Nice. Then that is something to build on.

Adam Granger
4 months ago
Reply to  Adamsite

I’d like to see him more aggressive in looking to score from that high post. Webber used to set up from near the corners of the free throw line and face the basket. A lot of times he would just take the jumper from there if they gave him space. Otherwise he’d attack the rim or find a cutter.
 
Whereas Giles seems to set up a little further out, making the jumper less of a threat, but you can just sort of tell he’s looking to pass first and so the D sits back and tries to get hands in the passing lanes. He’s a little predictable there and taking the jumper or putting it on the floor and attacking the rim might keep the defense more honest. But he’s getting better with that decision making overall.

Last edited 4 months ago by ImJoeKing
Eric W
4 months ago
Reply to  SanjeshSingh

He definitely hesitates. Oddly, I think the “problem” is that he’s always looking to make the great pass. He waits on cutters. Needs to be more decisive with his shot.

Adam Granger
4 months ago

It does seem like Giles is the odd big out right now. Holmes is the starter and Len was really efficient on both ends of the floor, and probably the bigger difference maker while the Kings were playing much better the last 20 games.
 
With Bagley back, if he is actually back, he’ll have the PF bench minutes locked down, and with both him and Buddy off the bench there’s less of a need on offense, Giles’ better half of the court.

Nate Ayers
4 months ago
Reply to  ImJoeKing

We may not need as much scoring off the bench, but we definitely need more playmaking. Giles is probably the 3rd best playmaker on the team, and with Fox and Bogi starting that leaves Joseph as the primary playmaker.
 
I don’t think he showed the defensive acumen to deserve minutes during a playoff run, though

Adam Granger
4 months ago
Reply to  PretendGhost

I don’t disagree. It’s pretty astonishing how much passing is a minus skill for so many guys on our team, Bagley and Buddy for sure, but Barnes also. None of them seem to have good court vision to know where good chances will come from and they mostly aren’t looking to pass once they get the ball.
 
But the bench units with Baze, Len, and CoJo seemed to be doing so well (maybe a case of good defensive leading to offense?) that I would stick with them until it stops working.

Michael Ehrgott
4 months ago

Giles seems like a really cool dude and him and Fox are friends. I hope we keep him and he develops more. He seems like a low ego player who actually likes being in Sacramento.

Nate Ayers
4 months ago

Yup. When/if he becomes defensively competent or even a threat, he’ll make whatever team he’s on very happy.

4 months ago

A better run team is going to sign Harry and it breaks my heart. He’ll be really good in Boston or Denver.

Jeromy Simonoff
4 months ago

I know I’m late, I haven’t been paying as much attention lately but…
I don’t get it. What’s the deal with all the love for Harry? He’s a nice kid and a good story to root for and fun to watch occasionally but he’s just not that good.
 
When you say he’s the 3rd best play maker on the team I really don’t understand it. Yes, he can sneak a nifty pass in now and again but to be considered a play maker one HAS to have more than 1.3 assists per game. Nemanja had 2.8 assists per game last (this?) season and no one talks about his ability to move the ball and create open looks.
 
Harry had potential. 3 yrs. later and he still hasn’t really shown us much. I like him. I want to see him succeed cuz he’s a good kid. But he’s just not that good.

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