Denver Nuggets 2021 Training Camp Notebook: Day 4
SAN DIEGO - As we enter the final weekend without Denver Nuggets basketball for the next eight months or so, training camp continued to heat up Friday, with practice being centered around a live scrimmage.
After running through some offensive sets and defensive coverages, the ball was rolled out and the team was split into two squads. With three days remaining until the first live-action of the season against the LA Clippers on Monday, Denver continues to iron out the kinks.
Following Friday’s practice, Head Coach Michael Malone, JaMychal Green, and PJ Dozier spoke to the media. Here are the key takeaways following day four of practice.
For the first time this week, the team was split up into white and blue squads, and three-quarters of action allowed players to showcase their ability to work within the team context on both ends of the floor and execute the various schemes that the team has been practicing during camp.
With an emphasis on pushing the pace, generating quality 3-point attempts, and executing different defensive schemes, Friday’s scrimmage presented coaches with an opportunity to see some initial results from the work earlier in the week.
“We'll watch a lot of film tomorrow morning and clean some things up, but it was just good to blow it out and get a lot of five-on-five in,” Malone said following the scrimmage.
Bol Bol impresses
Although Malone hasn’t revealed a training camp MVP this week, one name that continues to come up is Bol Bol.
The third-year big man can always tantalize with his unique skill set, capable of handling the ball, blocking shots around the rim, and hitting 3-pointers with ease. However, what has impressed Bol’s head coach this week is the focus and effort he’s put forth on a daily basis.
“But I think Bol has had a really good camp and is doing the things that we're asking him to do,” Malone said Friday. “So, I'm proud of him for that.”
As Bol enters his third season in the league, there’s potential to carve out an opportunity in the frontcourt, especially through effective rim protection. It’s not only his coach that Bol has impressed as of late, with teammates making sure to point out the 21-year-old’s effort during camp.
“He would be the last one on the floor working and he’s on the first bus,” Green said. “He’s done a great job.”
Guards get after it in live action
One key takeaway from Friday’s scrimmage was the impressive performance put on by the team led by Facundo Campazzo, Austin Rivers, and Bones Hyland.
The three guards shared the court for extended stretches and were effective in pushing the pace, a key goal for Denver on the offensive end of the floor this season.
“Yeah well the White Team (was) especially playing faster,” Malone pointed out. “I thought they had tremendous pace and again I think Facu and then Bones coming off the bench, even Austin, those guys were kind of the facilitators of that, just constantly make or miss, pushing the ball up court.”
Campazzo and Rivers enter their second seasons with the Nuggets, while Hyland is soaking it all in as he begins his rookie season in the league. However, with Jamal Murray out to begin the season, there could be playing time for all three players if shots are falling and the defensive intensity is there on a nightly basis.
With all three guards joining other teammates such as Monte Morris, PJ Dozier, and Will Barton in the backcourt, Denver has plenty of looks to throw opposing defenses on a nightly basis.