For some NBA hopefuls, staying ready for the call to a workout is as important as the workout itself. It can come at any time. The Nuggets called two days before Daniel Amigo was put through the paces of his first NBA workout.
The local product, playing at DU, was ready.
“Super grateful,” Amigo said. “Obviously, it’s right across town, and they came to look at me in a couple of games. So, I’m super grateful for it. Thank God for the opportunity.”
The 6-10, 245-pound center was one of six players put through a Monday morning workout at the Pepsi Center. Amigo was the only senior, with all of the other players – Nevada’s Cody Martin, Stanford’s Reid Travis, Canisius’ Isaiah Reese, Tennessee’s Admiral Schofield, and overseas guard William McDowell-White – expected to make decisions in the next week about whether or not they will stay in the NBA Draft.
Amigo’s game has grown in junior and senior seasons under new Denver coach Rodney Billups.
“The first two years were tough,” Amigo said. “Didn’t really play that much, didn’t get the opportunity. Billups came in and gave me the opportunity. Obviously, I got to play and stuff. So, he prepared me a lot better. We do a lot more skill work in our practices, so it prepared me a lot better, too.
Asked how much better a player he is now than three, four years ago, Amigo did not hesitate.
“A lot better,” he said. “In the Princeton offense you can’t do much, no freedom. So, under Billups I had a lot more freedom, so I can do whatever I wanted to do on the court.”
That freedom led him to averages of 15.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists. Amigo shot 52.1 percent from the field on his way to earning a second-team All-Summit League selection.
Still, he understands, “I’m going to have to do extra things to get noticed.”
How does he describe his game?
“I’d say I’m a lot quicker for a power forward, than some guys,” Amigo said. “I’m getting better off the dribble, starting to get quicker. I actually lost a lot of body fat, so I’m in a lot better shape now. I’m trying to stretch the floor out more, and I’ve got a low-post game, too.”
And he’s got another basketball interest – playing for the Argentinian National Team. Amigo has dual citizenship and a real desire to play for one of the world’s best basketball teams.
“Luis Scola was the one that invited me to go start training with them,” Amigo said. “The assistant coach saw me, and I got invited to the national team preselection. …
“Growing up, the NBA was my dream. I’m going to keep working hard. If I get the opportunity to play summer league, I’ll do that. But if not, I’ll go overseas and play a couple of years and then hopefully get in the NBA after that.”
NOTES: Guard William McDowell-White’s dad was an Australian rules football player, but he always gravitated toward round ball. White was unable to qualify at Fresno State, so he did the next-best thing – left Australia to play basketball for Brose Bamberg in Germany. “I grew a lot playing against men every week,” McDowell White said. “Also practicing with a Euroleague team, which is widely considered the second-best league in the world.”
This offseason has the potential to be focused on defense for the Nuggets. One of the better defensive players in the draft process is Nevada’s Cody Martin, a second-team all-Mountain West selection, who was also the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year. He played alongside twin brother Caleb, and had a big NCAA Tournament. Cody averaged 18.7 points, 6.0 assists, 5.3 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 1.7 blocks. "I bring a lot of versatility in terms of defense," Martin said.
Christopher Dempsey: firstname.lastname@example.org and @chrisadempsey on Twitter