On Friday, the Denver Nuggets opened up their Las Vegas Summer League season. It also marked a new chapter for growth in their young guys.
Who to Watch For
Malik Beasley and Juancho Hernangomez are the headliners, supported by Tyler Lydon and Monte Morris as opening acts. As the second year veterans in Beasley and Hernangomez, this will be a big opportunity to show how they’ve grown as players. It’s time to show why they should have a bigger role this year.
“They’re running plays for us and they’re on us more than they’re on the other guys if we mess up,” Beasley told BSN Denver on Wednesday. “It’s always good to be the No. 1 option, but I’m just going to play my game and keep doing what I do.”
Beasley’s Scoring in Bunches
Beasley took full advantage of being the number one option by hoisting up 30 field goals and 12 threes. This resulted in 29 points, but shooting just 12/30 from the field and 3/12 from three.
He not only took advantage of being the main guy, but also of the basically unlimited fouls allowed in summer league by racking up seven personals for the day.
These aren’t all negatives, though. This was only his first taste of playing the star role with the Nuggets. The good thing is that he didn’t back down from the opportunity and become passive. He proved that he’s willing to take over and can continue to get his shots off while being keyed in on. The field goal percentage will come in time and isn’t a concern right now.
— Malik Beasley MB25™ (@Mbeasy5) July 2, 2017
Hernangomez Looked Good
Similarly, fellow headliner Juancho Hernangomez also shot just 40% from the field, just on half as many shot attempts.
The sharp shooting big man tallied an impressive 21 points, shooting 6/15 from the field and 4/10 from beyond the arc. On a positive note, he led the team with four made threes and eight rebounds. On a negative note, he also led to team in turnovers with seven.
Oddly enough, while both the headliners shot exactly 40%, the opening acts each shot 33.3%.
The 24th pick, Tyler Lydon, had a relatively uneventful day going 2/6 from the field and 1/4 from three to score six points in 26 minutes.
51st pick, Monte Morris, also had a quiet but steady day with seven points and three assists in his 23 minutes on the floor.
Look for each of them to look to assert themselves more as they get more comfortable. Each show plenty of promise as rotation players in the future and this is the first step in reaching that destination.
Surprise of the Day
It’s also worth mentioning Robert Carter Jr. as a pleasant surprise. The former undrafted Maryland product put up 17 points on five of seven shooting in just 23 minutes. His efficient scoring helped him bode by far the highest +/- on the team. Going undrafted in 2016 was not expected for Carter Jr. and he’s surely an NBA level talent. Hopefully he can continue to put this on display throughout the rest of summer league.