The Los Angeles Clippers played a lot of small-ball lineups last season, but they’re currently extremely thin in the front court.
Entering this week, Ivica Zubac and Serge Ibaka were the only centers on the roster. While Zubac has established himself as one of the most underrated bigs in the league, Ibaka is very much a wild card at this stage of his career.
That obviously has more to do with Ibaka’s health than his basketball ability, but it’s still concerning he played in just 41 games last year.
Well, it would appear the Clippers are aware of their frontcourt predicament, because they just took a flier on a potential rotation piece.
On Tuesday, the Clippers signed Harry Giles, who spent last season with the Trail Blazers, to a non-guaranteed contract.
Can Harry Giles’ career finally take off with the Clippers?
Up until this point, Giles’ NBA career has been a major disappointment. Taken by the Trail Blazers with the No. 20 overall pick back in 2017, Giles was acquired by the Kings on draft night and has averaged 5.9 points and 3.8 rebounds on 51.1% shooting over his first three seasons in the league.
Though Giles hasn’t lived up to his first-round billing, he’s still just 23 years old and has yet to play for a well-run franchise. Say what you will about Portland’s recent success, but look at how they’ve built around Damian Lillard.
Maybe joining the Clippers will signal a change of luck for Giles. It’ll obviously be up to him to perform during training camp and the preseason, but we like to think he could carve out a nice role for himself if he makes the roster.
The Duke product is incredibly athletic for a player of his size (6-foot-11, 240 pounds) and his 7-foot-3 wingspan could provide valuable rim protection off the bench. Ty Lue will need to coach him up, but the Clippers are among the elites when it comes to player development.
Perhaps some of that magic can rub off on Giles?
Giles is far from a helpless player. His natural ability speaks for itself. He can be effective in the pick-and-roll and is actually a strong passer in the high post, regardless of whether his back is to the basket.
In a perfect world, the Clippers are the place for Giles to resurrect his career. However, LA has roster spots to fill at training camp, so the fifth-year pro will have to prove himself before the team even considers bringing him aboard for longer than a showcase.