Emmanuel Mudiay Will Replace Patrick Beverley in 2016 NBA Skills Challenge

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistFebruary 11, 2016

Denver Nuggets guard Emmanuel Mudiay (0) drives around Utah Jazz guard Raul Neto during the first quarter in an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

Denver Nuggets guard Emmanuel Mudiay will replace Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley in the 2016 NBA Skills Challenge, the Nuggets announced Thursday. 

Mudiay, 19, was already scheduled to be in Toronto for the Rising Stars Challenge. He'll be replacing the defending champion in Beverley, who was forced to withdraw after suffering an ankle injury during the Rockets' loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday, per Calvin Watkins of ESPN.com.

The No. 7 pick in June's draft, Mudiay is averaging 11.4 points and 5.9 assists per game. He's emerged as an exciting open-court player, dribbling at a breakneck speed—at times to his benefit and others to his detriment.

His passing skills and speed in the open floor should make him an exciting addition to the field, but Mudiay may come undone by the shooting portion of the program. Mudiay is hitting a disconcertingly low 34.0 percent of his shots from the floor, including a 27.2 percent rate from three-point range.

"I gotta be emotionally involved, emotionally dedicated to this team, this franchise," Mudiay said in January, per James Herbert of CBS Sports. "The fact that they just kind of gave me the key, I guess you could say, to come out here and just play, it means a lot to me."

Mudiay will have the opposite problem of Beverley, who is a 40 percent shooter from deep but struggles as a passer and doesn't excel at ball-handling duties. Beverley won last year's contest in one of the ugliest Skills Challenges in history, as he chased Brandon Knight from behind when the then-Bucks guard was unable to knock down a clinching jumper.

If anything, perhaps Mudiay may pass on Beverley's legacy. Last season, Beverley was not initially selected as a participant but was picked as a replacement when John Wall dropped out. 


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