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Grizzlies Free Agency Profiles: Harry Giles

The 22-year-old forward is a high-reward option who could bolster an already stout big man rotation in Memphis.

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NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Sacramento Kings Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

Harry Giles - Forward, Duke University

22 years old, 6’10”, 7’3” wingspan, 240 pounds

Draft: 1st round, 20th overall by the Portland Trail Blazers in 2017 (who dealt Giles’ rights to Sacramento the night of the draft)

NBA Experience: Two seasons (both with Kings)

Career Stats: 104 games played, 17 starts, 7.0 points in 14.3 minutes per game, 3.9 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 52.4% field goal percentage, 68.6% free throw shooting, 15.3 PER, .081 win shares per 48 minutes.


With more than a cup of coffee’s worth of NBA experience now under his belt, Harry Giles has firmly established that he can play. Giles’ scoring prowess from both the long midrange (43%, 69th percentile) and at the rim (75%, 73rd percentile) during 2019-20 allowed him to make the most of his infrequent playing time in a crowded front court. A polished ball handler with a smooth gait for someone manning the power forward/center spots, Giles’ ability to break down opposing fours and fives off the bounce has undoubtedly played a part in his efficiency from inside and out last season, as it keeps the defender guessing and constantly on their heels.

When Giles catches the ball fifteen feet from the basket, the majority of reserve bigs are in a world of trouble. Quite often the opponent is too slow-moving to stick with Harry off the dribble. But even if they’re able to keep Giles from driving the lane, the Duke alum is likely to have room to shoot his pristine midrange jumper. The act of contesting jumpers is outside the comfort zone of many front court talents, plus should the defender leave their feet Giles can attack the closeout for an easy two.

Giles’ offensive repertoire extends beyond simply putting up points. The youngster also operated as a facilitating maestro out of the elbow/high post (86th percentile in assist percentage last season per Cleaning the Glass). His poise and patience as a passer is tremendous, and Sacramento could rely on him to run the offense for a few plays a game. Giles spots open baseline cutters more often than not and rewards them with timely, precise dimes, either in the form of a bounce or chest pass. Considering Harry is only 22, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that he evolves into one of the upper echelon passing centers in the NBA.

Giles has a Swiss army knife skill set, but considering he’s suffered a dastardly case of the injury bug since his introduction to the pros, should the Grizzlies still look to obtain his services?

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Orlando Magic Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Numbers That Make Giles

16.4 - Giles posted a PER of 16.4, which is above the league average of 15. For perspective, he outranked Collin Sexton, Fred VanVleet, and Buddy Hield in this metric. Harry’s PER proves that he is quite productive during his time on the court, as it weighs both positive and negative statistics, meaning Giles does more to help his team than hurt them. His PER hints to the possibility that he could effectively serve as a reserve big for Memphis even in limited minutes because he did just that in 2019-20 with the Kings.

1.4- Giles may not be an out of this world defender, but his 1.4% steal percentage (76th percentile per Cleaning the Glass) highlights how he can wreak havoc with his active hands. Harry has a knack for mucking up pick and roll actions with his lengthy reach. This is a skill that could come in handy should he sign with the Grizzlies, as the team is at their best when forcing turnovers and getting out in transition for fastbreak chances.

22.2- Giles finished with an impressive defensive rebounding percentage of 22.2%, a number superior to everyone on the Grizzlies roster besides glass eating savant Jonas Valanciunas. If the Grizzlies are searching for a board snatcher who could play alongside pedestrian rebounder Jackson Jr. for stretches and help him out on the glass, Giles is perhaps the man best suited for the job who is also within an affordable price range.

Numbers that may make the Grizzlies pass on Giles

29- A significant 29% of all Giles’ field-goal attempts in 2019-20 came from the short midrange, which lies in the area between the paint and 15 feet from the basket. Giles found success in the long midrange but struggled mightily from 4-14 feet (36%). He should fire away from the three-point line instead of the inefficient, awkward short midrange, as even though he’s only taken a handful of threes in his career his perimeter jumper oozes promise.

131- Harry has missed a total of 131 games over his NBA career due to injury. He should technically have three seasons worth of experience in the league, but he sat out the entirety of his rookie year to nurse knee injuries that plagued him at the high school and collegiate levels. Then, during his sophomore campaign he suffered a left thigh impingement which kept him sidelined for the end of 2018-19. Additionally, Giles only participated in 46 of Sacramento’s 72 games this past season. Harry has yet to catch a break in terms of the injury bug, plain and simple.

The Grizzlies must take into account Giles’ injury history should they opt to offer him a deal, as he has been unable to put together an injury-free year in the NBA.

Pulse of Grizz Nation

It’s apparent from the poll above that Grizz Nation was on board with Memphis adding Giles via free agency. Of the 139 folks who were kind enough to vote, 56.8% of them believed that Giles’ upside makes him an attractive option. Frankly, I am a member of the Giles to Memphis movement, so I was delighted to see him garner both praise and interest from Grizzlies faithful.

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Portland Trail Blazers Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

Final Offer

Giles is going to have his fair share of suitors once he hits the free agent market. Lottery teams with cap space and a thin big man rotation will be inclined to bet on Giles’ upside. And rightfully so - Harry has demonstrated himself to be a multidimensional talent.

The Grizzlies already have three excellent interior players in Clarke, Valanciunas, and Jackson Jr. But I would still like to see Memphis take a flier on Giles and utilize him as the fourth big in the rotation. Harry produced in limited minutes as a role player in Sacramento, and he can do the same with the Grizzlies. In 15-20 minutes per game off the bench for coach Taylor Jenkins, Giles can impact winning as an interior/midrange scorer, high post playmaker, and active rebounder.

Final Offer: 2 years, $10M. Although, because of Giles’ injury-plagued past, the Grizzlies should look elsewhere if he is seeking a heftier payday.

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