Malik and Monte: Chemistry Growing in the Nuggets Summer League Starting Backcourt
When the stakes are high, it always helps to have a teammate who has been there before. For Monte Morris, that teammate is Malik Beasley. They will be the starting backcourt for the Nuggets summer league team, which starts play on Friday in Las Vegas, and the good chemistry between the two is already easy to see.
“It’s been big,” Morris said. “Working out with Malik all year, playing 3-on-3 with him, and now going into my second year just like his second year was (last year). I could tell he was comfortable, and you can tell I’m more comfortable with him.”
Morris went through summer league for the first time in 2017. And he described an experience of games moving at lightning speed. Meanwhile, Beasley was being handed the keys to shoot whenever he wanted as the Nuggets took a look at what he could be as a lead player.
Both enter this year’s summer league more relaxed, and more knowledgeable about what to expect.
“Last year was moreso us looking for each other too much as opposed to just playing,” Morris said. “Now, our chemistry is good. I know where he likes the ball. He knows where to get to when I have the ball so he can come open. So, our chemistry is good and I can’t wait to show it.”
Beasley has been a man on a mission in summer league practices. The third-year Nuggets guard is eager to string together a number of good performances in Las Vegas in effort to earn a bigger role on the team in the 2018-19 season.
“I just want to kill whoever’s in front of me, whether it’s right now in practice or (when summer league starts),” Beasley said.
He later added, “I feel like it’s a huge (upcoming) season.”
And Beasley’s take on Morris?
“Monte’s a great point guard,” he said. “He’s been working hard all summer. He’s been putting in the work, learning, talking to (starting point guard) Jamal (Murray).”
“Everything has just slowed down,” he said. “It’s year two, I know what to expect. I’m just trying to go out there and do what I’ve got to do. I just want the opportunity, and my job is to go out there on Friday and show everyone, show the world, that I can be a backup in this league and run a unit. I’m very high on myself talent-wise and skillset, because I’m here with all the coaches putting in the time in my game. I’m just trying to go out there and make everyone else believers that I can play at this level.”
NOTES: Nuggets summer league coach Jordi Fernandez said Tuesday night’s scrimmage went well. “It was really good; competitive,” Fernandez said. “It seems like the team is building up. Togetherness, they keep supporting each other, they keep pushing each other. So, that’s what eventually gets you to be a good team.” The Nuggets have one more practice – on Thursday morning – before departing for Las Vegas. They start summer league play on Friday night against Minnesota.
Christopher Dempsey: email@example.com and @chrisadempsey on Twitter