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Harry Giles Is Starting To Show Off His Unlimited Defensive Potential

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The Dementor has risen.

Kimani Okearah

Welcome to ‘90 seconds of...’ a short form video series highlighting the signature skills your Sacramento Kings are known for. If this was around in the glory days, you’d see ‘90 seconds of Vlade Divac passing out of the post’ or in the not-so-glory days, ‘90 seconds of John Salmons dribbling the air out of the basketball’ but in this new, exciting era of Kings basketball, we’re learning new stuff about these young players every day, and this series hopes to highlight some of those signature skills these young players possess. Shout out to Beno Udrih, the PUJIT (Pull Up Jumper In Transition) god.

Harry Giles is in the middle of what might be his first NBA moment. The Kings are desperately fighting for their first playoff berth in over a decade, and they’re trying to do it without Marvin Bagley who suffered a left knee sprain vs. the Milwaukee Bucks last week. With Bagley out of the lineup for an undetermined amount of time, the Kings needed someone to step up, and that someone has been Harry Giles.

In 3 games since the Marvin Bagley injury, Giles is giving the Kings 16.7 points on .657% shooting from the field with 6.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.3 steals, 0.3 blocks, 2.3 turnovers, and 2.0 fouls in 18.7 minutes per game.

And yet, Giles’ recent stretch of excellent play isn’t the inspiration for this post. That would be the following blurb from ESPN’s Zach Lowe’s column on Friday.

Speaking of big men and arms: I am not sure I recall any big man menacing opposing ball handlers in this style.

Giles extends his arms this way a lot. It’s a little scary. He’s a freaking Dementor with those long fingers. He looks as if he’s going to crack open your chest cavity and snatch your soul.

The Dementor. I like it.

Giles has brought it offensively over the last 3 games in a way he wasn’t until Marvin Bagley went down with the knee injury, but those quick hands and impressive defensive anticipation have been a staple of his game all year. He’s the most exciting young defender on this roster, and as he continues to keep his fouls down, and limit his physicality in a way that keeps him on the court (see the elbow that got him ejected vs. the Knicks below), the Kings could have something really special here.

I’ll have video showing off exactly how disruptive Harry Giles has been on defense this year in a minute, but Nylon Calculus contributor Peter Nygaard provided further context on Twitter Monday that I wanted to add for context here:

Of the 78 players 6’10” and above who have logged at least 500 minutes this season, Giles is 11th in STL%.

Other rookies on the list: Mitchell Robinson (12th), Jaren Jackson Jr. (18th), Deandre Ayton (29th), Marvin Bagley (45th), Wendell Carter Jr. (47th), Mo Bamba (66th).

I purposefully kept blocks out of the footage because I felt like that could be its own video, and I really wanted to highlight how Giles is able defend and make plays leading to turnovers.

The way Giles is able to hedge just enough on the pick and roll to bait a pass he knows he can either recover to and steal himself, or deflect to a teammate, is something the Kings haven’t had in a long time. For how pick and roll dependent the NBA is these days, Giles is showing signs of great potential as a real threat to what most NBA offenses are relying on for offense in the halfcourt.