Duke

Duke’s Harry Giles picked No. 20 in the NBA Draft and traded to Sacramento

Duke's Harry Giles (1) blocks the shot by Notre Dame's Bonzie Colson (35) during the first half of Duke's game against Notre Dame in the ACC Tournament final at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., Saturday, March 11, 2017.
Duke's Harry Giles (1) blocks the shot by Notre Dame's Bonzie Colson (35) during the first half of Duke's game against Notre Dame in the ACC Tournament final at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., Saturday, March 11, 2017. ehyman@newsobserver.com

Back when he was a bouncy and dominant high school player, Harry Giles was seen by many as a potential future No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft.

When NBA Commissioner Adam Silver ultimately called Giles' name on Thursday at Barclays Center, he was selected with the No. 20 pick -- not the No. 1.

Giles' draft rights -- and those of North Carolina junior forward Justin Jackson -- were traded by the Portland Trail Blazers to the Sacramento Kings in exchange for the No. 10 pick, which Portland used on Gonzaga freshman center Zach Collins.

Now Giles will attempt to prove to the Kings -- and the rest of the NBA -- that he can resemble the player he was before three knee procedures dramatically altered the trajectory of his career at Duke.

"Even now it's the same thing, I have to prove myself in workouts, even with the physicals, too, to prove I'm healthy," the 6-foot-10 freshman, who did not attend the Draft, said after a recent workout with the Detroit Pistons. "Teams are going to pick who they want to pick."

Giles will join Jackson and Kentucky freshman point guard De'Aaron Fox (No. 5) in attempting to change the culture in Sacramento, a consistently troubled NBA franchise.

"Man, that's a great challenge to have," said Jackson, the ACC Player of the Year who led the Tar Heels to the NCAA championship. "For me I've always loved whenever somebody says you can't necessarily do something or whatever. So for me I'm going to go in there, like I said before, work extremely hard. That's the whole mindset. We're going to try to change things and be extremely competitive and try to win as many games as we can. So we'll see how everything falls."

Giles worked out for the Kings, who are taking a gamble on a guy with a high upside but also a history of knee injuries.

One NBA executive recently said Giles is a "top-5 talent in this draft."

But will he more closely resemble the player he was in high school? Or the more limited one he was in his lone season at Duke when he averaged 3.9 points and 3.8 rebounds while shooting 58 percent from the field?

"Certainly, he's got to clear a team's medical concerns," ESPN's Fran Fraschilla said recently on The 4 Quarters Podcast.

"I've always pegged Harry Giles as a mid-first-round pick and no higher. If he's healthy he is a 6-foot-10 high energy big whose one great strength right now is he will be good rebounder. He's shown some ability to hit shots from the permeter but his one NBA strength that will get him on the court as a role player... is going to be his rebounding. But it's all depending on how strong those knees are."

  Comments