Preview: Denver Nuggets conclude Summer League vs. Bucks

by Eric Spyropoulos
Staff Writer
@EricSpyrosNBA

Fans at Cox Pavilion Saturday afternoon were treated to a fireworks display put on by Bones Hyland, the Denver Nuggets’ rookie guard.

In just his third Summer League game, Hyland looked like an experienced guard, using a variety of moves to create space for 3-pointers and drives to the rim. The 20-year-old finished with 28 points, six rebounds, and four assists, while he connected on 62.5 percent from beyond the arc, which resulted in five made threes.

Hyland received help from the likes of Zeke Nnaji (12 points and seven rebounds), Caleb Agada (13 points and five steals), and Zylan Cheatham (15 points and 18 rebounds). Denver escaped with a comeback victory in overtime against the Dallas Mavericks to snap a three-game Summer League losing streak.

Now the attention turns to a matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks to conclude Denver’s 2021 Summer League appearance. Here’s what to watch for in Monday’s contest (2 pm MT, ESPNEWS).

An encore performance from Hyland?

There’s no doubt that Hyland has had a very successful Summer League debut. Through three games, the 26th overall pick in this year’s draft is averaging 19.7 points and 4.7 assists per game while shooting 42.3 percent from beyond the arc.

Hyland has showcased a well-rounded offensive game, balancing his playmaking with his one-on-one scoring abilities. In what will be his last official game until this fall, look for Hyland to put on one last show in hopes of securing another win for Denver.

Can Agada continue to impress off the bench?

After starting Denver’s first two Summer League games last week, Agada has settled into a backup role and thrived in recent games.

Against Phoenix on Thursday, Agada scored 10 points on 4-of-4 shooting from the field and dished out five assists. The 26-year-old followed that up with a 13-point, five-steal performance in Denver’s OT victory over Dallas Saturday.

The 6-foot-5 guard has showcased his all-around game with a mix of scoring, playmaking, and quality defense. Monday’s contest provides Agada with another opportunity to make a final impression on the Nuggets and the rest of the NBA.

Cheatham continues to provide energy for Denver

An under-the-radar performance from Saturday’s win over Dallas was Cheatham’s incredible effort on the boards. With 18 rebounds (to go along with 15 points), Cheatham was active early and often, especially on the offensive glass.

The 25-year-old forward grabbed five offensive rebounds in his 31 minutes of action, providing Denver’s offense with multiple second-chance opportunities. Cheatham has previous NBA and G League experience and has been one of Denver’s vocal leaders on the court throughout Summer League. Monday’s matchup with Milwaukee will allow Cheatham another opportunity to leave a lasting impression.

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