Sacramento’s Harry Giles won’t play until at least January.
Sacramento Kings rookie Harry Giles won’t play his first NBA game until at least January. The Kings have made the decision in an effort to ensure the full health of Giles’ surgically repaired knees before he takes the court. Sacramento acquired Giles from Portland in a draft night deal after the Trail Blazers made him the 20th overall pick.
The former Duke Blue Devil was a top recruit in high school before he tore both of his ACLs. During his lone season at Duke, Giles noticeably lacked the explosive athleticism that was the calling card of his high school career. He played less than 12 minutes per game for the Blue Devils, failing to live up to the considerable hype surrounding his arrival in Durham.
The Kings’ training staff has put Giles on a plan to strengthen his knees, according to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman:
This appears to be a move that Sacramento can afford to make, as the organization entered a rebuilding phase when they traded star big man DeMarcus Cousins during last seasons’ All-Star break. Delaying Giles’ pro debut in order to decrease the likelihood of another major injury seems a prudent move, as Sacramento will likely find it a challenge to compete for a playoff spot in a stacked Western Conference with or without him.
Sacramento has a nice collection of young talent that includes Giles, De’Aaron Fox, Justin Jackson, Skal Labissiere and Willie Cauley-Stein, among others. The team added veterans George Hill, Zach Randolph and Vince Carter in the offseason, presumably to serve as team leaders on a youthful roster.
Giles drew Kevin Garnett comparisons in high school, and the Kings surely hope that he retains such tantalizing upside in the long-term. Prior to his second ACL injury, Giles was ranked as the No. 1 overall player in the 2016 class by ESPN and was considered No. 2 by Scout.com and Rivals.