The Clippers have reportedly added a 17th player to their training camp roster: Harry Giles III. Per Shams Charania, Giles is signing a non-guaranteed deal with the team.
Free agent C/F Harry Giles is signing a non-guaranteed deal with the Los Angeles Clippers, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. Giles was the No. 20 pick in 2017 Draft and played for Portland last season.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) September 7, 2021
Without DeMarcus Cousins or Patrick Patterson — both of whom remain free agents — the Clippers were in need of some big man depth behind Ivica Zubac and Serge Ibaka, each of whom had injuries that knocked them out of the end of the postseason. Giles hasn’t exactly been the most durable player throughout his four-year NBA career, missing the first year entirely and only playing 142 games since, but at 23 years old, maybe there is still something untapped in the young big.
Giles will likely never live up to the promise he had in high school, when he was one of the top-ranked players in his class, landing him at Duke. A series of leg injuries left Giles a shell of himself both as a senior in high school and then in his lone season with the Blue Devils — when he overlapped with current Clipper Luke Kennard — and he has struggled to be an impact player in the NBA.
The Sacramento Kings could only play Giles paired with another big because of his substantial defensive limitations. Giles has some offensive flashes: he can be a rim runner and lob threat in the pick-and-roll and is a decent passer out of the high post, though sometimes too flashy for his own good. However, those offensive tools haven’t been enough to overcome his struggles on the other end.
The Clippers must believe that they can coax a stronger defensive effort out of Giles, or that his offensive upside is even higher than previously imagined. There’s no opportunity cost for signing Giles; the team isn’t hard-capped, and there are still roster spots available in training camp. Nevertheless, it would be prudent not to expect too much from Giles. The Clippers can put their player development program to work on Giles, but his body of work suggests that there’s a reason he was available at this point in the offseason. Anything the Clippers can get from him would be gravy.