Denver's class of 2011 set for 2012 NBA Summer League

Nuggets teammates Faried, Hamilton, Stone ahead of curve in offseason workouts
by Aaron Lopez

Denied a NBA summer orientation last July Kenneth Faried, Jordan Hamilton and Julyan Stone look eager to make up for it in 2012.

The three Denver Nuggets teammates have been mainstays at Pepsi Center over the past several weeks as they hone their game in advance of the 2012 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.

“They’ve done a great job,” said Nuggets assistant Chad Iske, who will oversee Denver’s summer league team. “They’ve all come in with a hard-work mindset. Both Jordan and Julyan came back earlier than we asked them to, and Kenneth’s been a leader with his work ethic.”

The NBA did not have a summer league in 2011, preventing Faried, Hamilton and Stone from familiarizing themselves with Denver’s offensive and defensive systems before their 2011-12 rookie seasons.

Faried emerged as capable starting power forward and was selected the NBA’s 2011-12 All-Rookie First Team. Hamilton and Stone played only 26 and 22 games, respectively.

“I’m excited to play a big role on the summer league team and show them I can compete,” Hamilton said. “Most of all, I’m looking forward to helping the team win some games.”

Hamilton, 21, was the first Nuggets player to return to Pepsi Center after the season ended on May 12. He was joined about a week later by Stone, while Faried wasn’t far behind.

Their offseason conditioning program has included running the stairs at Red Rocks, lifting weights with strength and conditioning coach Steve Hess, individual on-court sessions with the coaching staff and full-court games.

“They’ve put themselves in the best position to have success because they’re putting in the work,” Nuggets advance scout/assistant coach Jesse Mermuys said. “They’re very much ahead of the curve because they were here so early.”

Faried, Hamilton and Stone will be the headliners for Denver’s five-game summer league schedule that runs from July 14-20. The roster also would presumably include any players taken in the June 28 NBA Draft; the Nuggets hold the 20th, 38th and 50th picks.