Nuggets Newest Players All Know Where They Can Make an Impact
Monte Morris didn’t have a personal slogan in college at Iowa State, but if he did it would most certainly be something like: Share and Share Alike.
And never, ever make a mistake.
He is a point guard in the truest sense. Nuggets president of basketball operations, Tim Connelly, called him called Morris a “dying breed” of player. Point guards are hybrid shooting guards anymore, but there is something classic about Morris’s game. His 5.17 assist-to-turnover ratio led the nation, and more impressively, on an up-tempo basketball team and in a Big 12 conference that is no stranger pressing ball handlers.
“I give a lot of credit to my teammates,” said Morris on Tuesday during the Nuggets introductory press conference for their new players. “I can pass the ball, but they still have to make the basket. I’ve always been surrounded by guys who can put it in the bucket at Iowa State. So, I take my hat off to them. And also both coaches that I had in Fred (Hoiberg) and Steve Prohm. They gave me the freelance ability to go out there and just make plays.”
There’s always room for a player that takes care of the basketball to that degree, and Nuggets are hoping some of that rubs off on everyone else. Yet Morris, the winningest player in Iowa State history, can also score when he needs to. His 16.4 points per game ranked fifth in the Big 12 and he shot 46 percent from the field, including 37 percent from the 3-point line, to get there.
Still, Morris knows where his bread is buttered.
“On the court, getting the ball to everybody, keeping everybody involved,” he said. “Getting everybody good looks and also being able to play the pick-and-roll at a high level.”
Morris sat alongside his new teammates, former Utah forward Trey Lyles and Syracuse standout Tyler Lydon in Tuesday’s press conference. All three talked about the kind of impact they hope to have on the Nuggets roster when the interviews fade and playing basketball begins.
Lyles has seen the Nuggets up-close, playing his first two seasons with the Jazz before being traded to the Nuggets during this year’s NBA Draft.
“It’s kind of a dribble-drive offense, where guys drive and kick out to shooters,” Lyles said. “I think that plays to me quite perfectly. I’m a dribble-drive guy and I can knock down shots, too. And make plays. So, I think I’m going to fit in this system.”
Lydon, meanwhile, is known for his shooting ability, with good reason, but there is more to his game. The Nuggets weren’t necessarily on his radar – he didn’t come and work out for them – but Lydon is pleased to be in the Mile High City nonetheless.
“The moment I was selected was just unbelievable,” Lydon said. “I never thought I would be in this position to play for such a great organization. …I didn’t expect the Nuggets to draft me, I didn’t come in for a workout or anything, but I knew (I was on their radar), they wanted to get me in for a workout, it just unfortunately didn’t work out that way. But I’m so grateful to be here.”
In addition to his 3-point marksmanship, Lydon said his game “comes down to being tough. I love being that guy that brings energy – diving on the floor for loose balls, rebounding, doing the little things to help a team. I feel like that’s what I do.”
Christopher Dempsey: firstname.lastname@example.org or @chrisadempsey on Twitter.