The Denver Nuggets start their rebuilding process under new head coach Mike Malone, who began last season coaching the Sacramento Kings. He leads his team into the Las Vegas Summer League after having one of the worst records in basketball last season at 30-52.
On the flip side, Denver nabbed their point guard of the future during the 2015 NBA Draft. With the No. 7 overall pick, Denver picked Emmanuel Mudiay, who played with the Guangdong Southern Tigers in China last year. Mudiay was considered a top-three talent when he decided to forgo the college basketball circuit and played professionally instead. With Ty Lawson’s departure basically a sure thing at some point this season, Mudiay will get the basketball early and often and have plenty of chances to make an impact this season. He alone may be worth the price of Denver Nuggets tickets for the upcoming campaign.
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Along with Mudiay on their summer league roster, the Nuggets will also have undrafted free agents Darius Carter from Wichita State and Rhode Island forward Gilvydas Biruta. From the 2014 draft class, Nuggets second-round pick Nikola Jokic, Chicago Bulls’ first-round draft pick Gary Harris, and undrafted free agents Antonio Barton and Roscoe Smith are also featured within this group. Furthermore, Denver will also get to see more of Joffrey Lauvergne on their summer league team, after he displayed some promise in flashes during last year’s NBA campaign.
The Nuggets are similarly constructed like their 2014-15 team. Lawson will be the starting point guard, Randy Foye should have a grasp on the two-guard spot, while J.J. Hickson, Jusuf Nurkic, Danilo Gallinari, Kenneth Faried and Wilson Chandler comprise the forward roles. Gallinari looks to have his first full healthy season in a few years, after injuries have slowed down the promising Italian shooter.
Mudiay’s role appears to be one off the bench for now, as his athleticism in short bursts could prove to be very beneficial for their outlook. His decision-making at the point needs to be improved, but as a 19-year-old guard with one season of professional experience, that’s to be expected. His potential growth as a rookie will be a big factor in how the Nuggets fare this season, and participating in the summer league should only serve to aid that cause.