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Harry Giles is a Sleeping Giant

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We’ve only seen a fraction of his potential impact in the NBA

NBA: Chicago Bulls at Sacramento Kings Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Lost in Monday’s news about Marvin Bagley’s First Team All-Rookie honors was Sacramento’s other standout rookie — Harry Giles.

The young big man received two Second Team votes. And while that is a nice tip of the hat, it’s becoming clear that Harry is still being slept on by many around the NBA.

It’s not that Giles was snubbed. Opportunity and availability play a major factor in any award. He simply didn’t log enough minutes for serious consideration. However, when he was on the court, Giles made one of the biggest impacts of any rookie in the game.

Thirty-six rookies played at least 500 minutes this season. I pulled their stats and sorted them on a per-36 minutes basis, rather than the per-game numbers that voters are more likely to rely upon. The results were pretty surprising.

Harry Giles ranks among rookies per-36 minutes

Statistic Value Rank
Statistic Value Rank
PTS 17.9 7th
FG% 50.3% 5th
REB 9.7 5th
AST 3.7 13th
STL 1.4 9th
BLK 1.0 12th
Via NBA.com, minimum 500 minutes played

Giles ranks in the top third of his rookie class in all major statistical categories, on a per-36 minutes basis. And while that’s not enough to earn him any hardware, it is a promising augury for the future.

The points category is particularly interesting, as the only six players who finished ahead of Harry were top-8 picks: The five First Team rookies (Luka Doncic, Trae Young, Deandre Ayton, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Marvin Bagley III) and one Second Teamer (Collin Sexton). That’s some impressive company.

Harry Giles also led all rookies in one other statistic. If you watched a lot of Sacramento Kings games early in the season, you can probably guess what it is — personal fouls.

The fouls were a part of Giles’ availability issues, along with some nagging durability concerns. But he’s progressing. Giles racked up 7.2 fouls per-36 minutes before the All-Star break, but posted a much more reasonable figure of 5.3 afterwards. For comparison, Second Team All-Rookie Mitchell Robinson fouled slightly more frequently over the same stretch of the season, at 5.4 per-36 minutes.

Almost all of his numbers improved after the break, in fact. His points, boards, assists, blocks, FG%, and FT% all went up. Most importantly, his net rating went through the roof — from a nightmarish -10.7 to a stellar +6.1.

There’s still plenty of room for improvement in Harry Giles’ game, but a double-double machine with an explosive playmaking upside is currently laying dormant on the Kings roster. It will take hard work and prolonged health, but if things break right, Sacramento could have another Most Improved Player candidate on their roster next season.