Harry Giles admits he was a little nervous when he woke up to a text telling him that his name came up in a TMZ video.
To his relief, the Kings’ 20-year-old rookie realized the tabloid news website’s video featured teammate Willie Cauley-Stein telling reporters on Monday that Giles will be NBA Rookie of the Year.
Giles, who missed last season while recovering from knee injuries, said he expects the same after devoting hours in the weight room and on the practice court in preparation for the summer league.
“I’m just trying to go out there and have some fun, compete and just go out there with an edge and a chip on my shoulder, and I think if I go out there with that, it will take care of itself,” Giles said after Saturday’s minicamp practice. “Everything I want to get done will happen.”
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As eager as Giles is to play, he understands the importance of this weekend’s minicamp with his new teammates, some of whom are still accustomed to the pace of the college game.
“I still play fast, too, so I understand where they’re at, so I try to at least tell them to slow down sometimes, take your time, that you don’t have to go as fast,” Giles said. “And then we haven’t played with each other also, so yesterday the first five minutes were hectic.
“We were all over the place just trying to get out there … but you just have to be patient.”
Giles, who last played in a game in March 2017 while at Duke, struggled to stay patient while sidelined last season, so he said he didn’t take too much of a break to rest this offseason.
The 6-foot-11 forward said he doesn’t have time to relax and that he’s on a mission to prove himself – something Kings summer-league coach Larry Lewis has seen brewing in the rookie.
“When you’re a young player and you get into the NBA and you spend a year looking at games, being in practices, but you never get on a game floor, emotionally that can promote some anxiety, so I think … he is going to have a lot of energy and sometimes in the NBA a lot of energy doesn’t necessarily equate to efficiency,” Lewis said. “Energy is good, but it has to be channeled in the right way, in the right direction.”
Lewis said he believes Giles is ready to take the next step.
Giles will make his on-court debut for the Kings against the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday in the California Classic tournament at Golden 1 Center.
“It feels amazing, you know, just finally my time to play for real this time,” Giles said. “Not just practicing, not just scrimmaging ... it’s the real thing this time, so I’m just blessed and just happy and ready to go.”
What: Summer league tournament at Golden 1 Center
Kings' schedule, TV: Monday vs. Lakers, 8 p.m., NBCSN-CA, NBA; Tuesday vs. Warriors, 8 p.m., NBA; Thursday vs. Heat, 2 p.m., NBA
Kings' roster highlights: Marvin Bagley III, De'Aaron Fox, Harry Giles, Justin Jackson, Frank Mason III
Editor's note: This story has been updated to clarify when Harry Giles last played in a game.