This off season has been and continues to be the most crucial off season of Emmanuel Mudiay‘s career. This is an opinion shared by Denver Nuggets coach Mike Malone, as he hopes for his point guard to finally live up to his potential.

The 21 year old has been hard at work this summer showing the same work ethic that earned him an uptick in minutes late last season.

Credit: @emmanuelmudiay twitter account

Early Mile High Hopes

After being taken seventh overall in the 2015 draft, Emmanuel Mudiay still comes as advertised before entering the league. Long before his debut, it was well documented that he couldn’t shoot. It was just as well documented that he had an elite 6’5″ frame and the ability to create on offense.

Check all those boxes off because he’s everything he was supposed to be in that regard. In regards to where he was supposed to be in his development by now, is where he’s lagging.

An Underwhelming Season

His numbers and minutes each took a dip in his sophomore season. After posting 12.8 points and 5.5 assists in just over 30 minutes per game his rookie year, these numbers fell to 11 points and 3.9 assists in under 26 minutes.

But that’s hardly the problem at all. It’s his atrocious 36.9% career field goal percentage and below average assist-to-turnover ratio.

How He Stacks Up

A very similar and easy player to measure him up against is Ricky Rubio. As a fellow foreigner, poor shooter, and good-sized player for the point guard position, Rubio is everything you could hope for Mudiay to mold into.

While their scoring totals would suggest that Mudiay is a more capable scorer, he would actually be a lot better suited to take less shots and facilitate more like Rubio.

Rubio’s also atrocious career field goal conversion rate of 37.5% is less damaging to his team because of his career 8.6 attempts in just under 32 minutes per game. In over 28 minutes per game for his career, Mudiay is putting up 11.8 field goals per game.

Bringing those shot attempts down would definitely help him bolster those assist totals. Conveniently, both Rubio and Mudiay averaged 3.2 turnovers per game in their rookie seasons in similar minutes. To compare, Rubio handed out 8.2 assists as opposed to Mudiay’s 5.5 per game. Almost four more shot attempts per game from Mudiay drives the point home that if he would just stay away from his weaknesses he would be able to capitalize more on his strengths.

Current Situation

So here we are entering Mudiay’s third season still talking about his first. The NBA is generous, especially to those who seem to have a lot of potential. But time continues to tick meaning what we once called potential gets closer to becoming “what could have been”.

But don’t overreact, this doesn’t mean he would necessarily be out of a job next year if this season isn’t a success. His job just most likely wouldn’t be located in Denver. What the Nuggets shouldn’t do is throw him into the fire as a starter. The expectations around Denver for this Nuggets team is too high. It shouldn’t have the season put in jeopardy just to test out an unproven player. He needs to get his test runs in gradually growing stints off the bench to see if he can even be a quality backup before all else.

Ending on a Positive Note
Credit: @emmanuelmudiay twitter account

Something that should be pointed out about him though is how through the struggles, he’s remained exactly the kind of player any team would enjoy having. Take a look at the captions of his twitter pictures and you’ll see him often embracing his adversity and focusing on his growth. You’ll also notice how close he is with his teammates and love for the Nuggets organization. Whether he ever embodies everything we hope for him to be as a player, he has at least embodied everything it means to be a good teammate.

Plenty of stars took years to develop into what they are now even after plenty of early opportunity, so don’t give up on Mudiay just yet. Our hopes for him as well as the Denver Nuggets remain Mile High!

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Author Details
Denver Nuggets Team Writer , The Armchair All-Americans, LLC
When I’m not playing basketball, I’m watching it. If I’m not watching it, then I’m researching it. If I’m not researching it, then I’m writing about it. I’ve tried to think of other things to say about myself here but I think that sums me up pretty well.
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Denver Nuggets Team Writer , The Armchair All-Americans, LLC
When I’m not playing basketball, I’m watching it. If I’m not watching it, then I’m researching it. If I’m not researching it, then I’m writing about it. I’ve tried to think of other things to say about myself here but I think that sums me up pretty well.
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