• Gus Saltonstall

Harry Giles Needs to Step Up If the Kings Want to Survive Bagley’s Injury


The Sacramento Bee

If the Kings want to survive Marvin Bagley’s injury, Harry Giles needs to step his game up

Marvin Bagley III went crashing down to the court against the Bucks Wednesday night as he tried to get around a Malcolm Brogdon screen. Bagley laid on the floor for well over a minute yelling out and writing in pain.

Bagley and the Sacramento Kings may have avoided a major scare. An MRI on Thursday confirmed that the rookie sensation suffered only a mild sprain to his left knee.

Bagley will be off the court for 1-2 weeks. This comes after missing 11 games earlier in the season from a bone bruise on the same left knee.

Sacramento has been one of the NBA’s biggest surprises, and Bagley has been an integral part of the Kings’ playoff push. The rookie out of Duke has continued to improve throughout the season, playing his best basketball as of late. Bagley averaged 23 points, nine rebounds, and 1.2 blocks in the five games leading up to Wednesday’s contest.

The Kings currently sit in 9th place in the Western Conference standings and are now three games behind the Los Angeles Clippers for the final playoff spot. Bagley’s injury comes at a must win stretch for Sacramento; nine of the team’s next 13 opponents have sub .500 records.

It’s time for the rest of the Kings to step up, and the player with the most to prove will be second-year pro Harry Giles. He has the most untapped potential on Sacramento’s roster and is looking at the largest increase in minutes from Bagley’s absence.

Giles - the former No. 1 ranked high school player in the country and 20th pick in the 2017 draft - didn’t play at all his rookie year. The Kings opted to keep him sidelined as he strengthen his knee following two ACL tears suffered in high school.

Finally given a chance to play this season, he has shown tremendous upside in a limited role for the Kings. Giles is averaging 6.5 points, 3.7 rebounds and 0.3 blocks in only 13.2 minutes of play.

Giles is getting hot at the right time, too. The 20-year old power forward had one of his best games of the season Wednesday night, finishing with 18 points, seven boards, and two assists.

As the first man off the bench in Friday night’s gut-wrenching 116-109 loss to the Clippers, Giles played better. In 17 minutes, four more than his season average, he turned in a strong 15 point, five rebound performance on 7-13 shooting from the field.

Kings head coach Dave Joerger needs to get the memo that Giles deserves close to 25 minutes a game with Bagley out of the rotation. Giles has the talent to be a premier player in the NBA, and this is a clear opportunity for the Duke big man to show his worth.

Every game is vital for a Sacramento team looking to break a 12-year playoff drought, and Giles just might be the player that either takes them to the promise land. If not, Kings fans are used to waiting.

Look for Giles to have a big game against the lowly New York Knicks Monday night in the Golden 1 Center.

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