SACRAMENTO -- The Sacramento Kings hit pay dirt last season when they selected Skal Labissiere with the 28th overall selection. They would love nothing more than to find another diamond in the rough late in the draft this season as they rebuild their young core.
Tuesday afternoon, the Kings hosted Harry Giles, another former top level high school player. Giles is coming off a subpar freshman year and draft stock is nowhere near where it should be. Like Labissiere, he is looking to make a splash at the NBA level after a quiet showing in the NCAA, but their paths to the league very different.
Labissiere struggled to adjust to the college game under John Calipari at Kentucky. He went from a can't miss prospect to a free faller on draft night.
Giles on the other hand comes with major injury risks. He tore his ACL, MCL and meniscus in left knee playing for USA Basketball at the FIBA Americas U16 Championships in 2013. Following his recovery, Giles tore his ACL in his right knee in 2015 and then underwent an arthroscopic procedure on his left knee in late 2016.
At 19-years-old, the talented power forward/center prospect is tantalizing, but a major risk, especially in the top half of the first round. He is healthy now, but teams are going to want to take a long look at his medical history.
"I'm fine, 100 percent healthy," Giles told a small contingent of reporters in Sacramento on Tuesday. "Knees are great, body is great and just ready to get better."
In a different world, where knee injuries don't scare away NBA teams, Giles would likely be a top five pick in a very good draft. At 6-foot-10.5 and 232 pounds, the former Duke Blue Devil looks the part of a star, although his college numbers were completely limited due to injuries.
Despite his age, Giles has been through plenty. The road to recovery is difficult, even for seasoned veterans. But for a high school player to fight through rehab multiple times, it shows character.
"Patience," Giles said of what he's learned through the rehab process. "Just kind of give yourself time, especially with injuries, you kind of want to rush back."
Giles worked out alone in Sacramento, his first stop of many over the next two weeks leading up to the June 22 draft. Most mock drafts have the big man ranked around 20, but with the caveat that he could fall if medical staffs don't like what they see when they inspect his knees in person.
The talented young big might be too big of a risk when the Kings select at No. 10, but it's still early in the draft spot and anything can happen. Last season Sacramento moved from the eighth overall selection in exchange for the 13th and 28th picks, as well as European prospect Bogdan Bogdanovic. They also acquired the 22nd overall selection in exchange for veteran Marco Belinelli.
Maybe they're kicking the tires on Giles in case he falls into the early second round where they have the 34th overall selection. Maybe they have their sights on some other move that would bring in a selection in the late teens or early twenties.
Following the workout, Giles was all smiles. He was personable and excited to talk to media, despite being drenched in sweat. He even stood against the Kings backdrop before being asked by media relations staff. Like every other prospect, he is just happy to be part of the process.
While his situation is different from the one Labissiere found himself in last season, Giles might be worth the gamble in the right situation. He'll have to prove that he can stay on the floor, but his potential is off the charts. A team like Sacramento has to swing for the fences on occasion and this is about the the biggest high risk, high reward player in the 2017 draft class.