Sacramento Kings Rookie Report: Bagley goes down, but Giles trends up

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 01: Harry Giles III #20 of the Sacramento Kings blocks a shot from Landry Shamet #20 of the Los Angeles Clippers in a game at Golden 1 Center on March 01, 2019 in Sacramento, California. (Photo by Cassy Athena/Getty Images)
SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 01: Harry Giles III #20 of the Sacramento Kings blocks a shot from Landry Shamet #20 of the Los Angeles Clippers in a game at Golden 1 Center on March 01, 2019 in Sacramento, California. (Photo by Cassy Athena/Getty Images) /

Marvin Bagley is hindered by another ill-timed injury. Thus, Harry Giles has seen more minutes for the Sacramento Kings, but his game improved enough to make him a future starter?

The first legitimate playoff push for the Sacramento Kings in *checks notes* roughly 78 years informally ended due to an injury to one of their most important players. We didn’t want to admit it, but when Malcolm Brogdon took Marvin Bagley down with a nasty screen, life got a lot harder for Sacramento. As a result, they now sit four games out of the eighth seed with the clock ticking. This also means the Rookie Report gets less fun to write, but alas.

The good news is that Harry Giles has seen an uptick in minutes, and it’s been great to see him come in earlier in the rotation and fill the “energy big” role that Bagley had been perfecting before going down. The question now becomes, has Harry improved his game to become a starter next to Bagley in the 2019-20 season? Whether he can or cannot will make a huge difference in Sacramento’s moves this summer. All this and more in this week’s Rookie Report.

As always, the Rookie Report considers a week to be Sunday to Saturday. Thus, this edition of the Rookie Report is only looking at the games against the Thunder on 2/23, the Timberwolves on 2/25, the Bucks on 2/27, the Clippers on 3/1, the Knicks on 3/4, the Celtics on 3/6 and the Knicks again on 3/9.

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On to the Rookie Report!

Marvin Bagley

Weekly Stats: 17.0 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 1.5 apg, 0.5 stls, 1.0 blks, 52.2% FG, 33.3% 3PT, 90.0% FT

Overall Season: 13.9 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 1.0 apg, 0.6 stls, 1.0 blks, 50.9% FG, 25.8% 3PT, 69.7% FT

Advanced: 18.2 PER, .566 TS%, 14.9% TRB,  6.0% AST, 3.4% BLK, 23.1% USG, 110 ORtg, 109 DRtg

Marvin Bagley’s injury could not have been more ill-timed for the Kings. He had himself a good pair of games, averaging 17 points, 9 rebounds and 1.5 assists on 52% shooting before going down against Milwaukee. Unfortunately, his absence has greatly hindered the Kings’ playoff push, and the team clearly misses his energy and motor off the bench.

It’s a testament to his development and pure, raw talent that Bagley has become such a key piece to this squad that an extended absence from him changes the makeup of the team considerably.  For all the concerns about fit last year, Bagley’s style of play fits perfectly with the brand of basketball the Kings are trying to be about. It certainly seems likely he will become a starter next year, which means the Kings bench will greatly miss the burst of energy he provided.

All the same, MBIII has put in a ton of work to change the narrative about himself, with pretty good advanced numbers for a rookie. One can only imagine what he’ll be like by this time next year.

Harry Giles

Weekly Stats: 11.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.5 apg, 0.3 stls, 0.3 blks, 51.7% FG, 0% 3PT, 57.1% FT

Overall Season: 6.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 1.3 apg, 0.5 stls, 0.3 blks, 49.8% FG, 0% 3PT, 63.1% FT

Advanced: 13.9 PER, .522 TS%, 14.2% TRB, 14.3% AST, 2.0% BLK, 23.4% USG, ORtg 100, DRtg 108

Giles has maintained a decent line in slightly increased minutes over the last few games (18.5 mpg as opposed to his 13.7 minute average for the season). He still is not ready for a starting role, but improvement can be seen with the increased opportunity, and that’s acceptable at this point. However, more is riding on evaluating Giles’ potential correctly than one might assume.

As this season winds down for the Sacramento Kings, Vlade Divac and the rest of the front office staff are going to have to decide what the starting front court is going to look like this fall. It seems clear that Marvin Bagley will be a starter next year (although that hasn’t actually been confirmed yet). But who will be Bagley’s partner at the four or five? The question then becomes what to do with the current starter, Willie Cauley-Stein.

If they go ahead and pay Willie this summer, that decision comes with risk. WCS’s game is what it is. He appears well-liked by his teammates and he often comes through with a big play in critical moments. On the other hand, he has an almost active disinterest in rebounding and defense, the two things his value relies on.

However, if they don’t keep Willie and slide Giles in, that also comes with risk. If Giles is just okay, or if he is a bad fit next to Bagley, the Sacramento Kings might underwhelm. That could be devastating after such a promising season. It’s also possible, however, that Giles comes in and takes a similar leap that Fox and Hield took.

Next. Three positives from Marvin Bagley’s rookie year. dark

It’s going to be an interesting summer in Kings-land. Here’s hoping Harry makes the leap and makes Vlade’s job easy.