Denver Nuggets 2021 Summer League: What to watch for

by Alex Labidou Staff Writer

For the first time in just over two years, the Nuggets will be returning to Las Vegas Summer League. Denver enters the tournament, which tips off on Aug. 8, as one of the favorites thanks to a group that features Zeke Nnaji, Markus Howard, Nah’Shon ‘Bones’ Hyland, and Bol Bol.

Here are a few storylines to watch for at Summer League:

The Bones show

If one has been following the Nuggets or Hyland’s social accounts, it is easy to see the former VCU star embraces attention. It’s a good quality to have considering there will be plenty of it for the Nuggets’ latest first round selection.

Hyland joins the Nuggets as an elite college scorer with endless range, but they will need him to be more if he wants to see rotation minutes under Michael Malone. Summer League is a good place for Hyland to showcase the other aspects of his game while continuing to score at an efficient rate. With Howard and Nnaji likely to be the first three options, can Hyland be a facilitator or make an impact on the glass? It will be interesting to see how he fits into the group.

Making all the pieces work

Summer League head coach Charles Klask has plenty of scoring talent, which is a good problem to have, but the key will be to determining how all the pieces fit. Will he elect to start all of the Nuggets’ rostered players together or will he bring one or two guys off the bench to add some scoring punch there?

Although the Nuggets aren’t heavily focused on set positions in their offensive philosophy, it will be interesting to see which roles players fill as well. Will Klask elect to place Howard at point guard? Or could a player like Arnas Velicka be the playmaker to allow Howard to focus on doing what he does best, scoring?

Tarik Black’s comeback

Tarik Black has been out of the NBA for three years, but he was a solid role player during his five-year run in the league – amassing 220 games played. The undrafted player has spent the last three years in Israel and Russia, playing for two powerhouses in Maccabi Tel Aviv and St. Petersburg.

Now trying to re-earn a spot back in the NBA, Black will need to prove he is a fit in the modern NBA. The power forward/center is a solid rebounder and an incredibly efficient low post scorer, shooting 65.5 percent in the Euroleague and 55 percent in the NBA. However, he’s made two of 14 attempts from long range in his career. If he can some range and prove to be an impact player defensively, he could be an intriguing fit for NBA and G League teams. Also at 29, he will likely serve as a veteran presence with this Summer League team.

Hometown favorite

Chudier Bile was a local high school star in Denver and he’s living a dream by getting a chance to play for the Nuggets in Summer League. Bile had a solid season at Georgetown after transferring from Northwestern State, averaging 10.2 points per game and shooting 41.9 percent from downtown.

Bile will now be fighting for either a two-way contract or a chance to land with the Nuggets’ G League Affiliate, the Grand Rapids Gold. He will certainly be a favorite back in the Mile High City.


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