The Nuggets found themselves on the other end of a beatdown in their second summer league game, losing by a score of 103-76 to the Chicago Bulls. Former Nugget (for about 10 minutes) Doug McDermott torched Denver for 31 points on 12 shots. Quincy Miller had another big scoring night for the Nuggets, finishing up with 24 points in the loss.
In lieu of the traditional recap or a super-serious analytic take on summer league, here’s a look at the three summer Nuggets we’ll be following closely all tournament, plus a few observations on the rest of the squad.
Quincy is a talented player, blessed with a versatile skill set inside an athletic 6-10 frame. He scores inside and out, attacking in spots which often get him a favorable one-on-one matchup or a wide open scoring opportunity. A lot of times that can elevate a player’s confidence while masking their real weaknesses in a summer league setting.
Quincy’s effort getting through picks, along with his overall awareness and energy on defense borders on Andre Miller. He will make a great play on one end and half-heartedly jog back on defense, head turned the other direction while his man strolls to the rim for a dunk. You expect it out of a worn-down veteran or a green rookie recruit, but Quincy is neither. At this point, seeing that out of him is disappointing.
I hate to be ragging on Quincy and his 24 points this much, but it’s hard to feel good about what I saw when I look at this game in a vacuum. Quincy got tired towards the end, but there were a few times he ran into the initial screen and just stopped playing. He’s also having a really hard time rebounding the ball after going for every steal and ending up somewhere around half-court by the time a shot goes up.
Harris struggled quite a bit today, there’s no getting around it. He showed an ability to get his shot off in multiple ways during a brilliant performance against Toronto, and was reduced solely to off-the-dribble jumpers against Chicago. It was a rough night. When he did move without the ball to find a wide open shot, they weren’t going in. Denver’s ball movement was so bad in the second half he had to create purely for himself, and was only able to find success when he got to the rim and was fouled.
Outside shooting will come and go during summer league, and it is not uncommon for young players to get unsettled and start pressing after a big game. This happened a lot with Evan Fournier and Quincy Miller in previous summers, and it was not a surprise to see out of Harris, especially during a game in which the Nuggets played from behind the whole way.
Green has been the Nuggets’ steadiest player through the first two games, rarely getting out of control whether he’s facing a big lead or a deficit. What is pretty shocking to me is the fact he is spending about half his time off the ball while others handle the point guard duty. He has been pretty good finding his own shot but I had imagined the Nuggets wanting to see how well he could direct an offense. When Green has brought the ball up and played point he’s done a decent job getting the Nuggets into a set.
As a scorer, Green looks fluid and much more polished than he was a season ago. Those off balance, one-handed floaters in the lane have turned into a more confident two-dribble pull-up. I still have a lot of concerns about Green’s ability to get in the lane and finish against NBA competition. He missed a couple of layups today which were the only blemishes on an otherwise solid performance.
We’ll see how well Green does as he transitions to this half-and-half combo guard role. My guess is the Nuggets will be leaning on his point guard abilities a bit more as Denver was absolutely horrible getting into their offense against Chicago.
The Nuggets are playing pretty small and guys like Carlon Brown are feeling the brunt of having to go up against bigger, stronger competition. Brown is a strong, speedy scorer but he has had trouble trying to bully his way to points against bigger guys.
Tim Ohlbrecht saw his first few minutes of action against Chicago, and the big German is a true center who should give the Nuggets some more flexibility with their lineups throughout the rest of summer league.
Will Thomas and David Lighty also saw their first action of the summer, but neither did much to impress in the blowout loss to Chicago. Expect Nuggets coaches to continue to shuffle the lineups as summer league continues.