The Denver Nuggets are looking to build following the bottoming out process that took place last season. They drafted Emmanuel Mudiay with the seventh pick of last year’s draft and paired him along with Gary Harris for a nice backcourt of the future.
Harris was selected 19th overall in 2014 and has had some ups and downs in his second year. This is pretty much a given for teams who are the middle of the road with young players. But, with Mike Malone in tow, the Nuggets are looking to build on their young core.
Jusuf Nurkic and Nikola Jokic are two new additions along with Jamal Murray. These young players form the foundation of the future for the organization. But, a small setback occurred in this preseason as Harris suffered a torn groin muscle and will be out for 4-6 weeks.
That isn’t a ton of time but, time is crucial in developing young players. Luckily for the Nuggets, there are a number of players that they have that could elevate their play in his absence. Here are the three players who can step in and help until he gets back:
“Will the Thrill” became a basketball nerd sensation last season as the larger NBA became aware of his unique blend of shooting and athleticism. He is the prototypical “three and D” guard that became a supreme asset this summer in NBA free agency.
Barton has really blossomed in the Mile High City. His talents mesh very well with the team’s focus on attacking early in possessions.
He gets up the floor like he was shot out of a rocket and when he gets to the rim the defender might want to get out of the lane if he values not being embarrassed.
This rookie has played well in the preseason so far and that bodes well for his ability to stay on the floor for Denver as the season kicks off. His jump shot is mechanically sound and he is able to do enough to hold his own guarding shooting guards.
In college, the Seminole was the picture of efficiency. The team was significantly better with him on the court. He was a dynamite scorer and averaged 39 percent from deep in the NCAA. He will allow the club to play with the pace that they were known for during their peak.
The former Wildcat was one of the best players in the country at shooting it from deep. His shooting talent could provide spacing for the squad in short doses.
Time filling in for third-year player would give him some feel for the pro game while allowing him to resume backup duties soon enough.
Murray would be learning on the job but, his experience would be unique in that he wouldn’t be asked to “do it all” like some rookies are tasked with when they first enter the league. At any rate, the sneak peek at what the rookie has benefits all parties involved.