Kings' Harry Giles taking advantage of opportunity, ready to compete

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James Ham
·4 min read
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When one door closes, another one opens.

The Sacramento Kings have been hit hard at the center position and it seems to get worse almost every day.

First, it was Alex Len testing positive for the coronavirus. Then Richaun Holmes was put on ice for 10 days for violating NBA bubble rules. With both of these players out of action, coach Luke Walton turned to Harry Giles and then shifted Marvin Bagley over to the five as well.

Monday brought a new challenge for Walton when Bagley underwent an MRI and is once again on the sidelines, this time with a right foot injury.

"We do not have an update," Walton said about Bagley to open up the team's Zoom call on Monday. "He is receiving an MRI, he hurt his right foot yesterday in practice on an offensive rebound. He came down on somebody's foot and that's all we have."

With so many missing bodies, Walton has turned to Giles to shoulder most of the load and according to the Kings' coach, the second-year big has stepped up to the challenge.

"Harry's been one of our better players throughout camp," Walton said. "I think Harry did a really nice job of showing up here in Orlando in game shape and ready to compete."

This wasn't the case for Giles when the Kings opened training camp back in September. Giles quickly found himself on the outside looking in on the Kings' rotation when he showed up to camp in less than stellar shape.

While Giles worked himself back in shape, Walton centered on a rotation of Dewayne Dedmon and Richaun Holmes at center and Giles was forced to wait for his opportunity.

"As a new staff, we didn't have time to see him, and then by the time he was ready, we had rotations and everything else going," Walton said. "As the year's gone on, we've gotten to know Harry and we have trust in him."

According to Bogdan Bogdanovic, Giles has worked as a point-five during the restart. The Kings are running the ball through the 22-year-old, taking advantage of his advanced passing skills.

"Honestly, in the team we play together, we use Harry as our point guard," Bogdanovic said. "He can pass so I try not to dribble as much. I hit him as soon as I can and I play off him."

Giles has shown flashes of brilliance as a passer. He is adept at running the high post and he sees the floor as well as any player on the team.

"Because he's a passer, they look for him when he's out there because they know they can get it back," Walton said. "He's had a solid camp for us."

To give the team a second option at center, Walton has shifted Nemanja Bjelica over from his natural power forward spot to eat some minutes. There is a hope that it is a short term solution with a few bigs expected back in the coming days.

Len is slowly working himself back into shape after missing nearly a month with the virus. Holmes is expected to get out of lockdown on Tuesday, which should help matters as well, but he's been stuck in a hotel room for 10 days.

Giles will likely open the first scrimmage as the starter for Walton on Wednesday. He's started 17 games this season for the Kings and is a big part of the team's midseason turnaround.

[RELATED: Kings' first two scrimmage games to be televised on NBC Sports California]

At this point, Giles' availability makes him one of the most important players on the roster. That may change over the next week as we build toward the eight-game restart and the Kings get reinforcements, but there is something to be said about a player who showed up ready to compete and fight for his spot in the rotation.

Like Len, Giles is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. He's auditioning for all 30 teams and it looks like he might get some major time to show his skill set.

Kings' Harry Giles taking advantage of opportunity, ready to compete originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area