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Summer League recap: Denver Nuggets 98, Sacramento Kings 76

Harrison Wind Avatar
July 13, 2015


The Denver Nuggets moved to 2-0 in the Las Vegas Summer League with a blowout 98-76 win over the Sacramento Kings.

It was a well-rounded team effort from the Nuggets as was the case on Friday night versus Atlanta, but once again Denver’s first round pick Emmanuel Mudiay stole the show.

Whether he was dropping a perfectly timed pocket pass to a rolling Nikola Jokic or skipping the ball cross-court to a wide open Ian Clark, Mudiay seemingly had his hand in every Nuggets basket.

Mudiay finished with 19 points and 10 assists on 7 of 15 shooting and led an offensive attack that shot 46.9 percent for the game and 41.4 percent from 3-point range.

Clark and Erick Green chipped in 19 and 16 points off the bench respectively, with Clark knocking in five threes, while Green had two of his own.

Denver’s bigs, Jokic and Joffrey Lauvergne also did their parts on offense, but more importantly made their impact felt on the glass, limiting No. six overall pick Willie Cauley-Stein to just one rebound. Jokic finished with 11 rebounds, while Lauvergne grabbed ten, as Denver out rebounded Sacramento 28-21.

(Box score)

–Erick Green wishes he could play all his games in Las Vegas. After averaging 16.6 points per game in the Summer League last year and subsequently making the Nuggets opening night roster, Green finished with 16 points off the bench and was more than capable running the second unit and playing alongside Mudiay with the starters. Best case scenario, Green is the Nuggets third point guard like he was for much of last year, but with possibility of bringing back Jameer Nelson, which is apparently very much in play (see below), Green has a lot riding on his performance in Vegas.

–Jameer Nelson is not on currently the Nuggets roster. The point guard opted out of his contract with Denver on June 5 and is currently a free-agent, but is oddly being referred to by Nuggets head coach Michael Malone as if he is still with the team.Take a look at these Malone quotes from an in-game interview tonight on NBATV.

“I think Ty will be a great resource for Emmanuel…Ty Lawson has great playoff experience was third in the league in assists per game last season, Emmanuel is going to pick the brain of both Ty and Jameer Nelson.”

“We have a lot of guys that are returning that have playoff experience; Wilson Chandler, Jameer Nelson, Ty Lawson, Kenneth Faried, All those guys know what it takes to get back there. Last two years they missed the playoffs, hopefully if a couple things go our way and we continue to get better we can get back to the playoffs real soon.”

That’s something to keep an eye on.

Gary Harris didn’t have the offensive impact he had in the Summer League opener, but please don’t turn sour on the second-year shooting guard quite yet. Harris finished with ten points and shot 4-12 from the field and 2-9 from 3-point range. Those are not great numbers, but at least he’s seeing the ball go through the hoop from three which will build his confidence. It’s only a matter of time before those shots start dropping.

–Despite limiting the Kings to 76 points on 43 percent shooting, Denver’s defensive effort was a mixed bag. Sacramento was able to get easy looks around the rim, mostly coming off  basic pick and roll sets and Denver was either late to rotate or flat out didn’t bother to help. Mudiay also had trouble staying in front of Kings guards Julyan Stone and David Stockton, but we can attribute that to him playing 35 minutes and a high usage rate on the offensive end of the floor.

–Malone caught up with his former player DeMarcus Cousins pre-game and shared an embrace with Kings Vice President of Basketball Operations Vlade Divac who Cousins sat with court-side.

–Mudiay was asked post-game about playing against the Kings and Cauley-Stein who was picked just one spot ahead of him in this summers’ NBA draft, and if he and the Nuggets had any extra motivation tonight because of that. Mudiay left no room for interpretation.

“This game was personal for me and coach Malone,” the point guard said.

Denver’s next Summer League game is scheduled for Monday night versus the Miami Heat.

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