According to Shams Charania of RealGM.com, the Denver Nuggets have signed undrafted rookie Jerrelle Benimon out of Towson. The deal is for two years and is partially guaranteed. This brings the number of players on the Nuggets’ roster to 16, which is allowable over the summer, however the team must have the final roster trimmed to 15 by the start of the regular season. Given Quincy Miller and Erick Green also have non-guaranteed contracts, there might be a chance Benimon snags the last roster spot at the expense of those two if he impresses enough over the next few months.
Benimon had a monster career at Towson, especially in his final season, and performed well for the Nuggets at Summer League. The website Upside and Motor has had great things to say about him this summer in two separate articles by Sam Vecenie and Adam Reisinger. Per Vecenie:
Benimon is one of the most interesting undrafted prospects from the 2014 draft. He was probably the second best statistical player in the NCAA last season after Alan Williams. The extremely versatile Towson product was the only NCAA forward last season to have a true shooting percentage above 55 percent (his was nearly 60 percent), have a rebounding rate above 17 percent, and and an assist rate above 20 percent. It would be pretty fair to call him Towson’s entire offense last season, and he combined all of those skills for a PER of 26.9. Undoubtedly his best skill is his rebounding, where he was third in the NCAA the past two seasons and averaged 11 per game in summer league for the Nuggets. Adam Reisinger of ESPN did a writeup of Benimon for Hardwood Paroxysm during summer league, and if you want to learn more about him I will point you in that direction happily.
Benimon is trying to score an NBA roster spot after going undrafted out of Towson University, where he finished third in Division I in rebounds per game (11.2) in each of the last two seasons. Benimon wrapped up his three-game stint with the Nuggets in Las Vegas averaging 11.3 rebounds per game (15.1 per 36 minutes), ranking among the Summer League leaders.
“That’s one of [those skills],” he said. “Teams are always looking for rebounders, so it always counts if you can rebound the ball.”
The 22-year-old Benimon posted a true shooting percentage of 59.6% as a senior last season, but shot just 31.8% beyond the shorter college three-point arc. He knocked down his only 3-point attempt on Friday, as he tries to show teams he’s more than just an inside scorer.
In all likelihood, this is simply a way to reward Benimon for his play at Summer League and give him a chance to make a team somewhere else. However, Quincy Miller and Erick Green have yet to prove their worth at the NBA level, making this an interesting scenario to monitor. As always, stay tuned as details continue to emerge.