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Emmanuel Mudiay, Denver Nuggets look to bounce back against Dallas Mavericks

An Nguyen Avatar
October 6, 2015

 

The Denver Nuggets will look to rebound from a tough loss against the Los Angeles Clippers when they face off against Rick Carlisle and a Dallas Mavericks team trying to prove that they are still a threat in the wild, wild West. All eyes are on Emmanuel Mudiay to see how he responds after a tough outing in Los Angeles.

Preseason Game 2
Nuggets @ Mavericks
6:30 p.m. MT on KTXA

 

A Rookie Forged by Fire

Photo: David Zalubowski/Associated Press
Photo: David Zalubowski/Associated Press

“He didn’t really get rattled, this being his first game… very under control. I definitely think he’ll be a really good guard in this league for a long time.” Not a bad thing to hear from the best point guard in the league in Chris Paul, about the 19-year-old Denver rookie. Although Paul took Mudiay to school, he was kind enough to teach him a thing or two as well. Mudiay will look to put some of what he learned against the Clippers to the test as he goes up against an easier match-up in undersized guard J.J. Barea. Mudiay and the Nuggets will also get a break in the middle as Zaza “I’m-just-as-good-as-DeAndre-right?” Pachulia will be meeting them at the rim, as opposed to DeAndre Jordan (although that was almost the case for the Mavs).

In this contest, look specifically for how Mudiay protects the ball. He committed 8 turnovers against the Clippers, and will have to be more mindful as the team’s playmaker. This game will be an indication of whether or not it was simply first game jitters or if turnovers will be a legitimate concern going forward. Ironically, the part of his game Mudiay showcased best was his shooting, going 3-7 from 3-point land with most of them being taken off the dribble. Look for Emmanuel to keep launching away during the preseason in his attempt to prove to the world how underrated his shooting is.

Tonight’s Nuggets game against the Mavericks will give us a good idea of how quickly and effectively Mudiay adapts to the NBA, as well as how strong he is mentally. Friday, Oct. 2nd, gave us a glimpse of his fortitude where instead of getting rattled from his struggles, Mudiay stayed calm, cool and collected even draining a cold-blooded 3-pointer in crunch time. If there’s one thing we want from Denver’s hopeful “franchise player” and floor general, it’s the ability to stay unflappable in the face of overwhelming odds. And the ability not to get rattled is contagious for the rest of the team and extremely impressive for a 19-year-old rookie’s first game in the NBA – even if it was just a preseason contest.

Hello Old Friend

Photo: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Photo: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

When the Nuggets traded away the enigmatic and controversial JaVale McGee to the Philadelphia 76ers back in February of 2015, fans across Nuggets Nation rejoiced. Gone was the albatross contract that hung around the Nuggets neck, even if it took its toll. I may be alone when I say this, but I actually liked McGee. He wasn’t the most graceful, but he gave it his all every time. Sometimes he gave us too much, yeah, but at least he played hard. I will admit though, that I had heard rumblings behind the scenes that question how committed he was to his rehab, and point out how much he’d rather play around instead.

With health hopefully on his side this season and a new coach in Carlisle, who has recent experience dealing with athletic rim protectors and turned Tyson Chandler into one of the premier big man defenders in the league, JaVale is in the perfect place to give his NBA career one last shot. However, despite taking a year off solely to focus on his health, McGee is still not ready to play. Although it looks like he will be sitting this one out (stress fracture in leg), look for McGee to play extensive minutes this season in order to keep the older veterans rested. Let’s all be glad that Nuggets fans will finally be on the outside looking in for Shaqtin’ A Fool segments on TNT.

Photo: Karl Gehring/The Denver Post
Photo: Karl Gehring/Denver Post

Another old friend we’ll be seeing Tuesday is Dallas Mavericks assistant coach Melvin Hunt. A long time Nuggets assistant, Hunt took over as interim head coach when Brian Shaw was fired in March of last season, and came out of the gate winning six of his first eight games, helping to resuscitate a spiritually dead Nuggets team. Hunt was always known as a great person first and foremost, and brought a relentlessly positive aura to the locker room. The former Nuggets head coaching candidate will be sorely missed in Denver and will be catching up with some of his old players and friends.

European Powers Collide

Danilo Gallinari is coming off a phenomenal EuroBasket tournament where he averaged 17.9 points per game (fourth in the entire tournament) on 56.9 percent shooting (fifth) and drew fouls at an alarming rate of 6.6 per game (second). Gallinari seems to be on a rocket trajectory to NBA stardom and will play a big role in whatever the Nuggets hope to accomplish this season. Although Danilo didn’t play against the Clippers, Malone indicated during training camp that he wanted the Nuggets small forward to play a good size of minutes in preseason.  Expect the Nuggets star to play against the Mavericks and let’s hope he continues his momentum from the last time he and German legend Dirk Nowitzki faced off in EuroBasket:

Dirk did not play in the Mavericks annual Blue-White scrimmage on Sunday, Oct. 4th, at American Airlines Center, but is not listed on any of the injury reports. Nowitzki may play a limited role tonight, or the team may continue to rest the 37-year-old. The battle between Gallinari (especially if Malone is going to play him at the power forward as much as he claims) and Dirk will be a good one.

Projected starting line-ups

Denver Nuggets:

Injury Report: Jusuf Nurkic (rehabbing from patella tendon surgery in his left knee)

With coach Malone telling the media that he was experimenting with lineups during the preseason, and not to read too much into the starting lineup against the Clippers, we can safely assume that there will be some tinkering done to the starting lineup. Malone specifically said he will be flip-flopping between NBA veteran Randy Foye and youngster Gary Harris, so expect Harris to get the start after what was an extremely strong defensive outing for the NBA sophomore.

Plays like the ones above are the epitome of what Malone has been preaching since he got to the Nuggets, and that should bode well for Harris. To repay him, count on Harris to reward his coach’s faith by getting his shots to fall (one can hope).

Also look for productive Frenchman Joffrey Lauvergne to get the start at center after J.J. Hickson proved to be completely ineffective in Friday night’s game against the Clippers. So, we’ll project the starting lineup with the following: Mudiay, Harris, Gallinari, Faried and Lauvergne – Coach may have different plans.

Dallas Mavericks

Injury Report: Chandler Parsons (knee), Wesley Matthews (Achilles tendon), JaVale McGee (stress fracture), Dwight Powell (elbow) and Deron Williams (strained calf)

Although they struck out on DeAndre Jordan, the Dallas Mavericks have had quite the busy summer. By re-signing NBA veterans Barea and Charlie Villanueva, as well as signing: Wes Matthews, Deron Williams, Jeremy Evans, Maurice Ndour, Brandon Ashley, John Jenkins, Samuel Dalembert and McGee you can see that the Mavericks have retooled their roster with the sole purpose of making Dirk’s final years competitive. Many of these guys we won’t get to see play tonight, but the Mavericks bench players have some tricks up their sleeve as well, including plans of playing “human pogo stick” Jeremy Evans at the small forward position according to Mavericks Reporter Randy Foye Earl Sneed.

Rookie Justin Anderson also deserves some focus as an athletic “3-and-D” (threes and defense) prospect out of The University of Virginia – which also happens to be Rick Carlisle’s alma mater — something I’m sure won’t hurt his playing time. Carlisle has a reputation for not playing rookies often, but I believe he has the same mindset as George Karl: if they can help me win games, I will play them. Coming out of college as a junior, the extremely mature Anderson has had plenty of time to refine his game and iron out any kinks that would normally drive a coach insane. Expect him to play heavy minutes not only in this game, but for the entire Mavericks season.

Projected Starters
Nuggets Mavericks
Emmanuel Mudiay (R)

Gary Harris

Danilo Gallinari

Kenneth Faried

Joffrey Lauvergne

J.J Barea

Devin Harris

Justin Anderson (R)

Dirk Nowitzki

Zaza Pachulia

 

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