Denver Nuggets’ P.J. Dozier earns two-way contract after impressive preseason
When Jamal Murray speaks with the media, he’s normally calm and collected, giving nuanced and measured responses to reporters’ queries. But there was one moment in Thursday’s preseason game against the Trail Blazers at Pepsi Center that Murray couldn’t contain his excitement for.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Nuggets guard P.J. Dozier drove into the lane and almost jumped over 7-foot-1 center Moses Brown before barely missing on a dunk.
“Oh my God,” Murray exclaimed several times in his postgame availability. “He told me before he was going to do it too.”
In his first extended playing time of the preseason, Dozier didn’t disappoint. The 22-year-old guard, who saw the majority of his 14 minutes in the fourth quarter of a Nuggets’ win that was decided by just six points, scored eight and swiped three steals. His effort on the defensive end sparked several fast-break opportunities for the Nuggets late in the contest.
“Coming into the game, I figured I would have a little bit more time tonight [to play]. I tried to be prepared for it,” Dozier said. “You never know when your number and your name is going to be called. That’s what professional basketball players are there for, you always have to be ready.”
READ MORE: Dozier happy to reconnect with Craig
After the game, Nuggets head coach Michael Malone was full of praise for the third-year guard who has had stints with the Oklahoma City Thunder and Boston Celtics after going undrafted in 2017.
“I love P.J. P.J. Dozier is an NBA player,” Malone said. “He’s strong and physical and an excellent pick-and-roll player. He’s shifty, he can get to the basket. He finds guys and he’s never rattled. He plays with great composure out there, [plays] under control. So, I think PJ has it.”
On Friday, the Nuggets announced Dozier would be receiving its final two-way contract spot, joining rookie Bol Bol. It’s another chance for the former South Carolina standout to continue his NBA dream. Prior to the deal becoming official, Dozier discussed his excitement in potentially joining a Nuggets organization that has found key members of its rotation through the two-way system.
“Just coming in here, the front office and coach Malone was telling me that that’s what they were looking for—another point guard,” Dozier explained. “I felt like I had a very good opportunity to come in here and actually contribute. I’m very excited for it.”
Murray, a fellow point guard, appreciates what he’s seen from Dozier so far.
“He’s done everything for us,” Murray said. “He’s a big body to guard, he can shoot, he can get to the rim. His in-and-out is crazy. He kind of does everything on the court. He gets steals and he’s very active. That boy can hoop.”
Dozier knows his route to the NBA is unconventional, but he hopes his work ethic will help him stick in the league.
“I know my path is different but everyone’s path is different,” Dozier said. “You just have to embrace the journey and take a day at a time. I’m just blessed to have the opportunity once again. I’m glad to be here.”