2016 Summer League Recap

2016 Summer League Recap

by Jonathan Huang

The Las Vegas Summer League ended yesterday with plenty of buzzer beaters, highlight reel-worthy plays, and a first look at the NBA’s newest crop of players. After a pair of big time shots from former Michigan State star Denzel Valentine, the Chicago Bulls took home the tournament title, defeating the Minnesota Timberwolves.

For the Denver Nuggets, their tournament run ended against the Phoenix Suns when former Kentucky point guard Tyler Ulis hit a three-pointer from the right wing as time expired. Denver finished the Las Vegas Summer League with an overall record of 3-2.

Despite the heartbreaker against Phoenix, both the Nuggets’ rookies and returning players turned in solid performances throughout Summer League play.

Emmanuel Mudiay and Gary Harris played in just the first game, but both showed their experience. Mudiay put up 23 points, eight rebounds, and six assists while Harris added 22 points, four rebounds, and two steals. With the pair leading the way, the Nuggets finished with a nice 88-82 comeback win against the Minnesota Timberwolves. They sat out the rest of the games in anticipation of their duties with the USA Basketball Select Team.

The Nuggets also saw excellent play out of Jimmer Fredette. In his first start in Summer League, Fredette dropped in 26 points and powered Denver to a 106-62 win against the Memphis Grizzlies. Fredette finished Summer League averaging 15.2 points, 3.2 assists, and 1.0 steals per game.

After starting out 2-0, the Nuggets sustained their first loss, 92-81, to the Miami Heat. Despite the loss, rookie Juan Hernangomez opened eyes with his mobility and all-around play. Hernangomez notched a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds, while also tallying five assists and two steals. He played in all five games in Summer League and averaged 10.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, and shot 54.5% from the field.

Jamal Murray also impressed. One of his best games was against the Heat, scoring 29 points. Murray followed that up with another 20 point game in a victory against the Utah Jazz, with the Nuggets winning by exactly that many points. In his third straight game of scoring 20+ points, Murray added another 29 points against the Suns, grabbing a critical offensive rebound and putting in a layup to tie the game with 1.8 seconds left. While his shotmaking ability was evident early, Murray also showcased his passing by playing the point guard slot alongside Fredette.

Petr Cornelie started every game and was solid manning the middle for the Nuggets. In 24.6 minutes, Cornelie averaged 8.0 points, 6.8 rebounds (3.6 offensive), and a team-leading 1.2 blocks per game.

Overall, Nuggets general manager Tim Connelly is pleased with how the team is looking for the future.

“Our young core coupled with the return of [Wilson] Chandler and [Danilo] Gallinari... I like where we are.”

Game 5: Nuggets vs Suns

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Game 4: Nuggets vs Jazz

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Game 3: Nuggets vs Heat

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Game 2: Nuggets vs Grizzlies

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Game 1: Nuggets vs Timberwolves

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