Denver Nuggets: 5 Players Who Need to Prove Themselves in the NBA Summer League
While the summer league isn’t flashy, it does answer a lot of questions that teams need answered. Second-year Nuggets will showcase their talents acquired in the offseason, and free agents will compete for a spot on the Nuggets' 2013-14 roster.
The Nuggets’ summer league roster will feature a plethora of talented young players including 2013 NBA draftee Erick Green and returning international Evan Fournier.
The team has been busy in the offseason; signing free agents Randy Foye and J.J. Hickson. The team’s also reportedly determined to re-sign free agent Timofey Mozgov, according to DenverPost.com. If Mozgov re-signs, the Nuggets will only have one spot left on their roster.
Here are five players who need to prove themselves during the tournament.
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Quincy Miller has played in seven total games for the Denver Nuggets, averaging 3.7 minutes and 1.3 points, via ESPN.com.
Last season, Miller mostly played in the NBA Development League with the Iowa Energy. On the Energy, Miller averaged 11.3 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 24.3 minutes in 23 games, according to NBA.com.
The second-year player has a lot of potential. In his only year at Baylor University, Miller averaged 10.6 points and 4.9 rebounds en route to earning Big-12 Co-Freman of the Year and Big-12 All-Rookie team honors, via NBA.com.
If Miller wants to see playing time this season with the Nuggets, he needs to prove that he has grown in the offseason. He will compete with a front court that features forwards J.J. Hickson, Kenneth Faried, Danilo Gallinari, Darrell Arthur, and Anthony Randolph.
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Former Texas Longhorn Jordan Hamilton is a mystery for the Nuggets.
During the 2012-13 season, Hamilton saw limited minutes behind Corey Brewer and Evan Fournier. He averaged 5.2 points on 41.8 percent shooting in 9.9 minutes, via ESPN.com.
Even though Brewer signed with the Timberwolves earlier in the week, Hamilton will still fight for minutes in the 2013-14 season. Fournier, who will likely start, will get a bulk of the minutes at shooting guard. On top of that, Randy Foye should get a lot of playing time off the bench.
The Nuggets acquired Hamilton in a three-team trade with Dallas Mavericks and Portland Trailblazers on draft night in 2011. He signed a three-year $3.3 million contract with the Nuggets that offseason.
Hamilton’s contract will expire at the end of the season--he needs to prove that he can contribute.
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Second-year man Fournier has a lot to prove in the 2013 NBA Summer League.
In his rookie season, the international player showed a lot of promise averaging 5.3 points while shooting 40.7 percent from three in 11.3 minutes, via NBA.com. Fournier saw more minutes as the season progressed, and even earned himself a starting spot in the 2013 NBA Playoffs.
With Andre Igoudala jumping ship for the Golden State Warriors, Fournier will likely start at the 2-guard for the Nuggets. In his only season with the Nuggets, Iguodala consistently had 13 points, 5.4 assists and 5.3 rebounds, according to ESPN.com.
The biggest questions with Fournier are if he can handle substantial minutes, and if he can handle the load of 82 games. The Frenchmen has only played in 38 regular season games, and logged 428 playing minutes, per NBA.com.
Fournier’s biggest competition on the roster will be recent Nuggets signee Randy Foye. The Nuggets signed Foye, a combo-guard, to provide better perimeter shooting. Last season, Foye averaged 10 points for the Utah Jazz on 5.3 three-point-attempts while shooting 41 percent from downtown, via ESPN.com.
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In his senior year at La Salle University, Ramon Galloway lead the 13th-seed Explorers to the Sweet 16 in the 2013 NCAA Tournament.
During the 2012-13 NCAA season, Galloway averaged 17.2 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.7 assists, according to ESPN.com.
The Nuggets have four guards on their current roster: Ty Lawson, Andre Miller, Randy Foye and Evan Fournier.
They will likely sign another guard for their last roster spot.
Galloway, a rookie free agent, will need to prove that he can provide explosiveness for the Nuggets. He has the potential to be a threat off the bench--if he’s ready to play in the NBA. Galloway will need to beat out fellow rookie Erick Green if he wants to make the team.
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Erick Green has everything to prove in the 2013 NBA Summer League.
In the first round of the 2013 NBA Draft, the Nuggets traded their 27th overall pick to the Utah Jazz in exchange for the 46th draftee, Green. The off-guard led the NCAA in scoring his senior year with 25 points per game for the Virginia Tech Hokies, per ESPN.com.
Green is arguably the best offensive threat out of the draft. He’s an exceptional jump shooter with a mean pull-up shot. On top of that, he has a good work ethic. In his senior year as a Hokie, Green improved his shooting from 43.8 percent to 47.5 percent, via ESPN.com
The biggest challenge Green faces is playing at the point. Green, 6’4”, won’t likely play in his comfortable position of shooting guard in the NBA due to his height.
The Nuggets haven’t signed Green to a contract, yet. He needs to show the franchise that he deserves the last roster spot.