Whoever took Harry Giles in Thursday's NBA Draft knew they would be taking a risk, but with three first-round picks, the Sacramento Kings decided one was worth a gamble.
Giles was selected by the Portland Trail Blazers with the 20th pick at the Barclays Center in New York and will head to Sacramento as part of a proposed trade, giving the Blue Devils a trio of first-round selections for the second time in the last three years.
Although Giles was widely pegged as a potential No. 1 overall pick someday after his junior year of high school, he suffered a torn ACL for the second time in his high-school career in the first game of his senior year, raising red flags about his health. There was speculation that Giles would sit out and rest for a year to avoid an injury before the draft, but the 6-foot-10 forward honored his commitment to Duke, though he did little to ease those health concerns.
Arthroscopic surgery on his knee kept him out the first 11 games of the season, and he averaged just 3.9 points and 3.8 rebounds in 11.5 minutes per contest when he made his return.
Giles showed glimpses of potential at times, particularly during a brief stretch in the Blue Devils' ACC semifinal win against North Carolina, and has looked more explosive in pre-draft workouts as he continues to regain strength in his knee.
At his best, the Winston-Salem, N.C., native could be an athletic starting power forward in the NBA that can play above the rim on both ends and also stretch the floor with a smooth midrange jump shot. Giles still has
The Fit: Once the Sacramento Kings traded their No. 10 pick for two shots at Nos. 15 and 20, they became a perfect team to take a risk on an injury-prone option like Giles. They have already picked up their point guard of the future with De’Aaron Fox and then added ACC Player of the Year Justin Jackson.
Even after trading away All-Star big man DeMarcus Cousins to New Orleans midway through last year, Sacramento still has a plethora of young low-post options—Willie Cauley-Stein, Skal Labissiere and Georgios Papagiannis. Giles joins a rebuilding team, and if he can stay healthy, he likely has the most upside of anyone in the Kings' frontcourt.