My first day on the Nuggets’ beat was June 25, 2015 — draft night.

As the Denver Nuggets selected Emmanuel Mudiay seventh overall, former Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson surfaced in an online video smoking hookah and predicted he’d be traded to Sacramento to reunite with former coach George Karl. The stunt proved to be the last straw for a Nuggets organization that had just watched Lawson receive two DUIs in less than six months. Denver shipped Lawson to Houston 25 days later.

Mudiay, at the ripe age of 19, became the face of the Nuggets’ franchise. He came to Denver with a full-fledged marketing campaign behind him that branded the point guard as the chosen one to lead the franchise into “A New Day” — a slogan which was plastered throughout the city, arena and printed on every piece of literature the organization handed out that season.

Expectations were high — probably too high — but Mudiay took them in stride. In the midst of an up-and-down rookie season where Denver finished 16 games under .500, Mudiay was front and center to speak with the media after every game win or loss. He was the face of the organization and was treated like one.

His first regular-season game in a Nuggets’ uniform was a stunner. Mudiay finished with 17 points, five rebounds and nine assists. The Nuggets upset James Harden and the Rockets in Houston 105-85, and Mudiay look liked the player to lead the Nuggets into a new era.

That night was the high point of Mudiay’s run in Denver.

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Author

Harrison Wind is the Denver Nuggets beat reporter for DNVR Nuggets. The University of Colorado alum grew up in Boulder and has covered the Nuggets for the last three seasons. You can hear him every weekday on the DNVR Nuggets podcast. Follow Harrison on Twitter - @HarrisonWind

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