Denver Nuggets 2021 Training Camp Notebook: Day 2
SAN DIEGO - With the regular season exactly three weeks away for the Denver Nuggets, preparations continued on day two of training camp.
With an emphasis placed on transition play and working within offensive sets in the halfcourt, Wednesday’s practice was praised by Head Coach Michael Malone, recognizing the sharper execution of drills and increased energy on the second day of camp.
Following practice, Malone and Bones Hyland spoke to the media. Here are three takeaways from Wednesday’s practice.
A step up from Tuesday
As mentioned in our notebook from day one, Tuesday’s practice represented a slower start to training camp than Malone would have hoped for. However, Denver’s head coach was quick to point out the impressive energy in Wednesday’s practice.
“It was a much better practice,” Malone said. “First off, it was a much better flow, got into the live stuff early, guys were competing, (it was) a lot cleaner and a lot sharper, so I give the guys a lot of credit.”
Malone revealed that through the team’s goal of getting better every day, players and coaches knew that things had to go a lot better than Tuesday’s practice.
“I saw the guys’ engagement, energy, being more vocal, making much better passes, getting us organized, all those types of things were better today,” Malone said following practice.
With exactly three weeks to go until opening night, Malone will be expecting that intensity and focus to continue leading into the preseason games and eventually, the regular season.
Bones adjusts to life in the NBA
Denver didn’t add many new faces to the group during the offseason, but one of those new faces is Hyland, the rookie selected with the 26th pick in this year’s NBA Draft.
There will be a lot of firsts for Hyland in the coming weeks and months, but it all starts with his first NBA training camp. It certainly has been an adjustment for Hyland, who admitted that he was frustrated with himself following Tuesday’s practice.
However, he continues to pick up new terminology and schemes as he prepares for his rookie campaign.
“It's a lot (to adjust to), you know, and that's not lost on me,” Malone said. “It's not lost on any of the coaches, because here's a guy that just finished up his sophomore season at VCU, and he's out here with 17 other NBA players, (learning) terminology, drills, (and a) new system.”
Hyland himself admitted that adjusting to a new system has been one of the main challenges during the early stages of camp.
“It's been more intense and a lot of information,” Hyland said Wednesday. “I’m just trying to take everything in and just be a sponge to everything and listen to the vets, listen to the coaches and what they got to say, and just go out there and just be me.”
Hyland has impressed during his early run in camp with his play in transition, which could inject some pace and energy into Denver’s offense moving forward.
“What bones brings is that energy, that pace, and that attack mindset, and he can get to places on the court that some guys just can’t,” Malone said Wednesday.
Jeff Green impresses early on
Speaking of Denver’s new faces, veteran forward Jeff Green hasn’t wasted any time making his mark in camp. The 35-year-old has been through his fair share of training camps, and on a Nuggets roster that still skews toward the younger side, Green immediately enters as a veteran presence on and off the court.
Green’s game is predicated on versatility, especially on the offensive end of the floor. From entering the league playing small forward to spending time at center in recent years, Green can play on-and-off the ball and serve as either the roll man or pop to the 3-point line. On the defensive end, Green is capable of guarding multiple positions, which could help Denver run more switching schemes on that end of the floor this season.
“His feel for the game, his versatility, even at his age his athleticism, it really felt like a seamless fit in that regard,” Malone said following practice. “So, I’ve been really impressed with Jeff.”
Green projects to play a key role in Denver’s frontcourt and certainly hasn’t eased into things during his first training camp with the Nuggets.