Miller, Harris, Green form the nucleus as Nuggets open summer league play

Young trio will be focus for Denver in Las Vegas
by Aaron Lopez

Three weeks ago, Gary Harris was wrapping up workouts in advance of the NBA Draft.

Erick Green was across the Atlantic in the midst of playing in the Italian League championship series.

Quincy Miller was in Denver doing his offseason work in the weight room and on the practice court.

The three have now joined forces in in Las Vegas to form the nucleus of the Nuggets summer league team that begins play Saturday at Cox Pavilion on the UNLV campus.

While victories in the desert would be nice, the Nuggets want to see how Green, Harris and Miller play together and how they fit into what coach Brian Shaw will be trying to do offensively and defensively next season.

“With Quincy, Gary Harris and Erick Green, it’s our job to put those guys in position to succeed,” said Patrick Mutombo, who will share coaching duties with fellow assistant coach Noel Gillespie. “We want to get more clarity as to what they can or cannot do. Ultimately, that’s what it’s about.”

During a two-day mini-camp in Denver, Harris leaned on Miller while trying to absorb new offensive and defensive concepts.

“He’s been helping me out a lot with the plays,” said Harris, the 19th overall pick of the 2014 NBA Draft. “He’s been there for me. I’m looking forward to Vegas.”

In addition to mentoring Harris, Miller is eager to build upon his experience of last season when he averaged 4.9 points and 2.8 rebounds in 52 games. Miller is unique because he’s a 6-foot-10 wing who can block shots at one end and then knock down a 3 at the other.

Ball-handling and playmaking are among the aspects of his game that remain a work in progress.

“They mainly want me to be a shooter and slasher,” Miller said of the expectations from Denver’s coaches. “Once I become a solid shooter and knock down open shots, my game will open up more.”

Green, a second-round pick in 2013, proved he could score when he averaged an NCAA-leading 25 points as a senior at Virginia Tech. His season in Italy allowed him to develop as a point guard, which mostly likely will be his primary position in the NBA.

From the opening tip of summer league, Green said he plans to be aggressive.

“Make plays,” he said. “If that’s scoring or if that’s penetrating and kicking out to the guys, I just want to make sure everybody around me gets better. I’m going to try to be a leader out there.”

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