Sacramento Kings forward Harry Giles continues to make progress in his long road to recovery from ACL tears in both knees. The 19-year-old out of Duke has yet to play a single minute of NBA action, but if you ask those around the organization and Giles himself, he is healthy and feels good. Yet the Kings, who believe they have something special with the 6’10’’ rookie, are playing it safe.
In January, the team announced that Giles would not play this season to “focus on more vigorous practice activity and individual workouts tailored to continue developing overall strength and aid ACL injury prevention.” The team is using a program based on biomechanics to make sure Giles’ body is ready for next season. Giles has said he is comfortable and confident with the team’s decision because he is confident about his future.
The hype surrounding Giles has been around since training camp, but for the most part, Giles’ true skillset has been hidden behind a curtain of closed practice sessions.
Those who have seen him at full speed in practice – his teammates – shared their observations about the rookie with Sactown Royalty.
“He’s a beast, man, I love Harry, I love Harry Giles. He’s a guy that can really pass the ball, just really has a great IQ for a basketball player, not just a big. His skillset is something that we don’t really have on this team. Honestly, I think he’s probably the best passer that we have as a big. His hands are a great asset, and he knows how to use them with pump fakes and being able to get to the basket in less dribbles than it usually takes. He’s a very skilled big, you can see why he was so highly ranked coming out of high school.”
“He’s a great screener, he rebounds the ball. I think his screening is going to be something that we really welcome next year … It’s always good to have a couple of bigs that set screens and get called for offensive fouls, especially they don’t call them in practice, so I love him being on my team in practice.”
On playing at full speed: “He’s fine, you can ask the bigs that have trouble keeping up with him if he is OK full speed. He’s doing good in full-speed practice. Like I said, I love having him on my team when we practice, so I can’t wait to get him on the court.”
On what he needs to work on: “Just shooting the ball. He’s going to be asked to play a little four, so he has to spread the floor for us … you can never be too good of a shooter. And decision-making – like I said, he can pass so well sometimes he tries passes that may not be there yet. So, he has to balance out making the right play with the spectacular play.”
On his personality: “He’s really a good young guy, listens, soaks everything in, he’s very coachable, he’s a happy guy, joyful guy, which is great, especially for a guy who has gone through the stuff he has gone through, for him to have that mentality, that positiveness coming through his first year like this. I’m happy for him and I’m glad we waited.”
“He’s a tremendous player, I can’t wait to see him play in a live game … Tough player, I like those tough players. For sure he will bring a different game on the court. For me, it’s not just passing, it’s everything. He’s an all-around player, he can play everything – he can shoot, he can drive, he can pass, he can play defense, he can move without ball well, he can dunk, he can do everything really, he’s so versatile and impressive.”
“He’s fast for his size, and for the position he plays, he’s fast.”
Who he reminds him of: “Chris Webber in best times, from my opinion from TV, I never played with him, but from TV and what I can see from Sacramento, Chris Webber. From other teams … he’s like better version of Draymond Green I’d say, because I think he’s stronger, he’s more athletic than Draymond … I’m telling you, you will see.”
“He looks great. He’s been able to block shots, dunks, shooting well, really good passer … he fits right in.”
“He has guard skills, big hands, rebounds the ball, he can guard a guard, willing and great passer – I think that’s one of the most underrated attributes about him.”
“He can pass the hell out of it. He has great vision … he has big hands, great touch, great feel for the game. Obviously, he is just young and has to learn the game and how he can dominate with his ability, but I tell you what, he has us in awe sometimes with his passing.”
“I think the toughest part of the whole process is being patient, especially when you feel good enough to play. But have him go through the process and sit there, and practice with us and go up and down, but then can’t play the games. So, it’s tough to kind of see where all the hard work is going. At the same time, I think he sees the bigger picture now and he sees progression and he’s put a lot of work in, he’s asked a lot of questions, he’s done everything they’ve asked. So, kudos to him because it’s not easy to go through that as a young guy because you are ready to make your mark.”
“One thing I tell him is, ‘hey, it’s great, but it’s nothing like the real thing. I don’t care how good of shape you are in, you’re going to die out there because of all the adrenaline and excitement.’ So, we’re just trying to prepare him for different situations we have worked on throughout the year when you get in games.”
Everyone is going to have to wait until next season for Giles to get in a game, but until then, the hype train will continue to roll along.