Of 350 eligible players per Synergy, Harry Giles allows the 342nd highest opponent field goal percentage around the basket (65.8 percent). He also commits the 8th most fouls per 36 (6.2) in the association, of those with a minimum of ten minutes per outing.
Aside from Kyle Guy and Marvin Bagley, who both saw extremely limited playing time, Sacramento’s defensive rating is worst with Harry Giles on the floor, at 114.3. Opposition’s effective field goal percentage raises 1.7 percent overall and an absurd 13.7 percent better at the rim with Harry Giles on the floor compared to off.
Sensing a trend here? Just how terrifyingly bad Harry Giles is on the defensive end is hard to overlook, even with his stellar offensive contributions.
He is regularly found in insufficient positions to protect the rim and his seemingly endless energy causes more harm than good in the form of fouls that frustrate Walton, the fans, Giles, and his teammates alike.
An optimist could point to his positional shift to the center (likely the most difficult and vital defensive role) as an issue here. Richard Ivanowski of The Kings Herald believes that Giles is better suited to defend on the perimeter than as the final diversion, but I am more hesitant to believe him to be passable there either.
The limited sample of his lateral quickness is uninspiring, to say the least, and opponents are continuously targeting Harry Giles, as they should. One of the few somewhat positives to point to is his defensive rebounding, where Cleaning the Glass has him ranked in the 82nd percentile among bigs.
Rebounding alone will not be enough to mask Giles’ overwhelming defensive deficiencies – his timing, understanding, patience, and strength need to take an extensive leap, and if that jump never comes he could be perpetually defined as a backup center for his career.