The Denver Nuggets notched their first win of the Las Vegas Summer League yesterday, defeating the Knicks 85-81 in a close game that provided the first true pressure test for many of the young prospects here.
I honestly didn’t know it was possible for a team to record just one fast break point in an entire game.
You learn something new every day. The summer league is a pretty loose interpretation of NBA basketball, but these are still real Nuggets coaches, real Nuggets players and (some) real NBA caliber talent competing in a professional setting.
The Nuggets’ performance on Sunday was offensive for all the wrong reasons. They shot 31.1% against the Mavs, recorded just 11 assists against 17 turnovers, and somehow managed the aforementioned one fast break point. Baskets are still worth two points in the summer league, but apparently the Nuggets didn’t manage to attempt a single shot on the fast break in 40 minutes of action.
Summer league is all about experimentation. In a setting where wins and losses aren’t exactly of the utmost importance, coaches are using the opportunity to throw a bunch of darts at the wall in order to see what sticks. While the results are a mixed bag that typically don’t lead you to any concrete conclusions, they’re often more interesting than the final score of the actual games.
That’s the way I feel about the Nuggets summer league opener against Golden State, which ended up turning into a blowout loss. While it certainly wasn’t fun seeing the Nuggets get throttled in a game they badly wanted to win, the entire team competed and there was plenty of individual growth that will help this Nuggets team evaluate how to get the most out of the summer league experience going forward.
Earlier today the Nuggets announced the 13 players Chad Iske will coach in the Las Vegas summer league next week. Nuggets fans should be pleased to know that every one of Denver’s draft picks from the last two seasons will be in attendance, only further proving that Masai and Josh are building an organization that values long-term player development. I’ll be heading out to Las Vegas this weekend to do some up close coverage of Summer League for Roundball Mining Company, and before our in-depth analysis gets rolling here’s a little bit of background on what we know about each of the prospects right now.