Denver Nuggets Announce Summer League Roster

The Denver Nuggets have announced their summer league roster and it is complete with everyone Nuggets fans will want to watch.

Veterans Kenneth Faried, Jordan Hamilton and Julyan Stone are joined by all three draft picks, Evan Fournier, Quincy Miller and Izzet Turkyilmaz as well as last summer’s second round selection Chu Chu Maduabum.  I was dead wrong in my assessment that Fournier would not be on the roster due to the fact that he is still under contract with his French team.

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Denver Nuggets Announce Summer League Roster

The Denver Nuggets 2010 Summer league team  is headlined by Ty Lawson and Coby Karl.  Former Colorado Buffalo star shooting guard Richard Roby, who is also Kenyon Martin’s half brother, is on the roster as is late season addition center Brian Butch.  Othello Hunter is an athletic big man who moves well and played a few games with the Atlanta Hawks over the past two seasons.  Dontaye Draper is a talented, but undersized point guard who has played for the Nuggets in Vegas before.  With Anthony Carter once again a free agent perhaps Draper has a chance to get an invite to camp this fall.

No.

Player

Pos.

Ht.

Wt.

Birthdate

School/Country

Exp.

13

Antonio Anderson

G

6-6

215

6/5/85

Memphis

1

43

Brian Butch

C

6-11

240

12/22/84

Wisconsin

R

10

Dontaye Draper

G

5-11

180

8/10/84

College of Charleston

R

7

Shane Edwards

F

6-7

220

5/31/87

Arkansas-Little Rock

R

34

Laurence Ekperigin

F

6-7

235

2/21/88

Le Moyne College

R

14

Brian Hamilton

F

6-6

205

5/14/82

Louisiana-Lafayette

R

12

Othello Hunter

F

6-8

225

5/28/86

Ohio State

2

22

Coby Karl

G

6-5

215

3/6/83

Boise State

2

3

Ty Lawson

G

5-11

195

11/3/87

North Carolina

1

8

Richard Roby

G

6-6

200

9/28/85

Colorado

R

Denver Nuggets Summer League Schedule

The Nuggets may or may not have a top ten pick to check out during the 2010 NBA Summer League, but regardless of who is on the roster, Denver has the great honor of playing in the first game in Vegas this summer.  OK, so maybe that is not such a big honor.  Regardless, here is the schedule (all times Pacific):

1:00 PM Friday, July 9 at COX Pavilion
Denver vs. Dallas
3:00 PM Saturday, July 10 at COX Pavilion
L.A. Lakers vs Denver
1:00 PM Sunday, July 11 at COX Pavilion
New York vs. Denver
1:00 PM Tuesday, July 13 at COX Pavilion
Denver vs. Chicago
1:00 PM Wednesday, July 14 at Cox Pavilion
Denver vs. Houston

Sadly, barring any trades the Nuggets will not face off against any of the top picks in this year’s draft, or even last year’s draft for that matter. Still, it is fun to have some basketball to obsess over in the summer.

Update: The Nuggets have announced Ty Lawson will play on the summer league team.  “I want to be more aggressive,” he [Lawson] said. “Summer league is where I can work on being more assertive on the court.”  Of course Lawson will still have to be a Nugget if he is going to participate.

Late season additions Coby Karl and Brian Butch will be a part of the team as well.  Jamahl Mosely will coach.

Denver Nuggets Summer League Report

I finally was able to finish watching the last three summer league games for the Denver Nuggets and I think Nuggets fans should be very pleased. The one player on the summer league team who will be in the 2009-10 rotation played very well.

Even though Ty Lawson did not shoot the ball well in his first two games, highlighted by the numerous rejections he suffered near the rim, I thought he did everything else well. Little did I know that it would only take him two games to adjust to the increased size and athleticism of the summer league.

Lawson continued to control the tempo, make great decisions and play solid defense. He also greatly reduced the number of shots he had blocked by using his body to create contact with a potential shot blocker to get his shot off, using a little floater in the lane and he also became more creative as evidenced by a beautiful reverse layup he made after jumping from the left side of the rim and scoring on the right side. In addition to that he started taking, and making, more jumpers. The result was a combined shooting percentage of 57.1% on two point attempts and 60.0% on threes.

The one thing you hate to see is a quick player who can shoot. If you lay off he will kill you with the jumper, however, if you come out on him, it is even easier for him to drive past you. Lawson accentuated that defensive conundrum by showing off a great pump fake to get his man in the air. He used it several times and it worked every time. The only person who even had a chance to keep Lawson out of the lane was Jerryd Bayless of Portland who did a pretty good job on Lawson in game three. Still Ty posted 26 points on 11-16 from the floor and tallied five assists.

I also loved seeing the accuracy on his passes up the floor. Nuggets players love to launch a three quarter court pass about five feet too high, but Lawson connected perfectly on nearly all of his attempts to get the ball ahead to a teammate.

He also reduced his turnovers from four in the first game to two or fewer over the next four contests.

As I mentioned in my review of games one and two, we cannot draw hard and fast conclusions from five summer league games, but if you combine what we knew about him during his three seasons at Chapel Hill and now in summer league, I think we can be assured that Lawson will be a very good efficient backup point guard. You can see his intelligence and experience in the ways he does little things such as drift to one side of the floor or the other based on where he expects the rebound to come off the rim in order to be in position to receive the outlet pass. His intelligence is off the charts and I love how he was able to adapt to the talent and athleticism of the competition after only two games.

Sonny Weems showed just enough to entice us for what may come in the future. His best shooting performance was a 10-23 (43.4%) night in game five that brought his overall shooting percentage up to 32.6%. He also shot poorly from the three point line dropping onto three of his fifteen attempts (20.0%).

Sonny never made the adjustment to use his talents to set up his teammates when his shot was not falling and he continued to force his offense throughout the five games never attempting fewer than 15 shots. He averaged slightly more than one shot for every two minutes he was on the floor. That is a little too aggressive and as George Karl said when he was interviewed during game five, Weems does not recognize the difference between a good shot and a bad one. He can get his own shot whenever he wants, but settled for a contested midrange jumper far too often.

His defense was very up and down. You could see how good he could be on occasion when he would come out of a time out or a quarter break and really play strong focused defense. Unfortunately that focus came and went. His biggest weakness is getting around picks. Instead of fighting over them he tries to slide around them as if attempting to avoid contact. By the time he would clear a screen and be ready to recover his man was usually already in the lane if not at the rim.

I had hopes that Weems could play the role of providing scoring off the bench, but he is clearly not ready to fill that role. If he is the third option on the floor and the defense is not keying on him, he could be effective and he showed he was much more accurate on catch and shoot opportunities than shooting off the dribble, as most players are.

Even with his shortcomings, he is an intriguing talent and I think he is just a year or two away from being a good NBA player.

The other player I really enjoyed watching was Coby Karl. He is a player who can do everything. He is a very good passer, can handle the ball, knows where to be and when he needs to be there and he can shoot. Karl converted on 61.5% of his shots and made half of his 16 three point attempts. His points per shot is off the charts. He scored 19 points on seven shots in game one, ten points on four shots in game two, 16 points on six shots in game three, 11 points on nine shots in game four and 19 points on 13 shots in game five. Do the math and the result is an astounding 1.92 points per shot. Put him on the floor with players like Chauncey Billups, Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith and Nene and he will drain open shots all day long.

Defensively he is a little slow laterally, but his understanding of how to play defense somewhat compensates for his lack of speed. Add in the fact that he does not fall asleep on his man or his help responsibilities and he will not kill you defensively.

He plays hard every second he is on the floor and always provides some positive benefit. I do not care what it looks like to have his dad as coach. I want him on the regular season roster.

Looking at the other players, I mentioned C.J. Giles previously as an active shot blocker and athletic defender. I do not think he has NBA talent, but he is right on the borderline. I could see him getting a chance to show what he can do in camp. Ronald Dupree did his best Dahntay Jones impersonation. He is an aggressive defender and showed he can score at the rim. His jumper is creaky and he would provide little help on offense. Still, he plays hard and can play defense. I would not be surprised if the Nuggets brought him into camp. Derrick Byars passes the eyeball test, he is a solid athlete and has good size for a long range sniper. However, he is pretty one dimensional and does not offer much more than long range shooting although he is a decent defender for a shooter. I doubt he will be invited to camp.

The only player I have not mentioned yet that I thought played well was Dontaye Draper. He is small, but plays hounding defense. He also pushed the pace well and shot the ball well (50.0% overall and 40.0% on threes), although he did so on a very small number of attempts. I thought he ran the team well and took his shots in the flow of the offense. His stature will probably keep him out of the NBA, but if the Nuggets do not bring Anthony Carter back, I could see them bringing Draper into camp to provide depth for practices.

With the early progress Lawson displayed, the potential of Weems and the gritty efficiency of Karl I think the Nuggets could have three solid players who are on the regular season roster off this summer league squad. For a team with a solid veteran core, it is important to find players to fill out the roster and I think there is a good chance they have accomplished that in Las Vegas.

Update: Interview with Lawson following the final summer league game on NBA.com.

Denver Nuggets Summer League Observations After Two Games

The Denver Nuggets summer league team has played in two games and by the time most of you read this that number will be up to three. Even so I want to post some summer league thoughts before I get too far behind. I have been impressed with a few of the players on the team. You can see the up to date stats here.

Ty Lawson – Lawson has not posted overly impressive numbers, but I think he has played very well. He is has been the quickest player on the floor both games and has shown his ability to get into the lane at will. When he penetrates and looks to pass he always makes the right decision and has a unique ability to fit the ball wherever he needs to. So far he has taken very few jumpers so it is difficult to tell how he has adjusted to the NBA three point line, we cannot base anything off his 0-2 performance from behind the arc at this point. He does have a sense for when his team needs a basket, such as early in game one against the Spurs when they only had two points a few minutes into the game. In those situations he has attacked the lane and earned free throws. He has struggled to score and is shooting a microscopic 6.7% from the floor. His primary issue in that area is learning to get his shot off in the lane. It would not surprise me if at least half of his 14 misses have been blocked at the rim. Most importantly his on the ball defense has been very good. Against the Spurs he was matched up against second year point guard George Hill who had a nice rookie season for San Antonio and Hill could not get around him without the help of a screen.

Sonny Weems – Based on the stats it looks like Weems is playing horribly, but he has shown flashes of very goodness. He is doing a great job of rebounding, averaging eight defensive rebounds a game, and pushing the ball back up the floor. In fact, he is doing a little too good of a job as he has pushed the bounds of being out of control. The result has been 4.5 turnovers a game. His athleticism and speed is off the charts and he is absolutely capable of getting his own shot. He has the ability to create space whether it is through contact or his footwork. So far his shot has not been falling, however, it is clear that the Nuggets want to see if he can carry the scoring load. If he proves he can it will make it easier for George Karl to start J.R. Smith knowing he has Weems ability to score available off the bench. Weems really reminds me a lot of a young(er) J.R. He is the best athlete on the floor and it is clear he can make exceptional plays. He does not have the passing ability of J.R., especially on the pick and roll, but he can use his talents to get his teammates easy shots. He also reminds me of J.R. on the defensive end. When he focuses on defense he shows an ability to be disruptive he just lacks consistency.

Coby Karl – If there is a player other than Lawson or Weems who is on an NBA roster in November my money is on Karl. It is easy to look at how hard Karl plays and how intense he is and not notice how skilled he is. He is great with the ball in his hands. He takes care of it, is a very good passer and he can really shoot. It may look bad if Karl gets a shot with the Nuggets, I even made a joke about his presence on the Nuggets summer league team, but he is definitely an NBA caliber player and deserves a spot in the league. It may look bad if he earns that spot in Denver, but you cannot let a good player get away just because of appearances.

Ronald Dupree – I mentioned that Dupree was the most likely player on the roster to be the Dahntay Jones of 2009. He is certainly doing his best. He is playing hard on defense and has been determined to shoot from as close to the rim as possible on offense. He is clearly a limited offensive player, but he has the athleticism and build to be a very good defensive player. I do not think he is going to pull off the same trick Jones did last season, but he is certainly giving it his all.

C.J. Giles – The Nuggets are seemingly always in the market for a big to round out the roster. I was surprised in the past that they did not hang on to a guy like Jelani McCoy. This year it looks like Giles is the big man who will catch my eye only to drift off into the night. He plays with a lot of energy and has done a great job defending the rim. As with Dupree he is not an offensive player, however, his defense is enough to get him noticed. Plus he looks like he has good hands and I like bigs who can block shots, bring energy and catch the ball when it is coming at them.

Richard Hendrix – I really like Hendrix’s ability to score in the paint. He is crafty around the rim and despite being a little undersized he almost always gets a good shot off. I do not think he is going to be in the NBA next season, but he is a very nice player.

Bret Bearup was interviewed during the Nuggets contest with the Wizards and he did not provide much insight to any moves the Nuggets might be working on, but he did say that they want to avoid paying the luxury tax. He also acknowledged that such a feat is probably impossible this season.

Staying with financial I mentioned that it would be interesting to see which trade exception the Nuggets would use to acquire Arron Afflalo. Reader Frontrange pointed out that according to the ESPN Trade Machine the Nuggets used a portion of the Chucky Atkins trade exception on Afflalo and Walter Sharpe, which means they are preserving the exception that was originally created in the Camby trade. I find that intriguing even though it is probably unlikely that they use a big chunk of it before it expires in early November.

There has also been some coaching news over the past couple of days. Chris Tomasson, who is writing for the Rocky Mountain Independent (make sure you check out his Nuggets coverage there) reported first that Jeff Bzdelik was interviewed for the opening in Minnesota. Bzdelik is a perfect coach for a young squad like Minnesota as he will make sure they play hard, play defense and fight from the opening tip to the final buzzer.

Mac Stein is reporting the Los Angeles Clippers are trying to pry Tim Grgurich from Denver. I have a difficult time seeing him leave an organization like the Nuggets for one like the Clippers. Hopefully he will remain in Denver to continue to develop the many young players on the roster.

Pay Per View Meet the NBA Summer League

The NBA has just announced that unlike in the past, you must purchase a subscription to watch the live stream of NBA Summer League games.  The subscription will cost $14.99 and includes the live stream and access to the archived stream for up to one week.

No games will be televised on NBATV and there was no mention that this service would be free for current League Pass subscribers, which leads me to believe even if you shelled our your hard earned, or ill gotten, cash for league pass you will have to pay the $14.99 to watch the summer league games.  Fo to NBA.com/summerleague for more details.

All I can say is the stream better be pretty darn good if I am having to pay to watch it.

They also announced some scheduling changes and two Nuggets games have been changed.  Here is the final schedule (all times Pacific):

Date Time Opponent Venue
Tues. July 14 7:00 PM San Antonio Spurs Cox Pavilion
Wed. July 15 7:30 PM Washington Wizards Thomas & Mack
Fri. July 17 7:00 PM Portland Trail Blazers Cox Pavilion
Sat. July 18 7:30 PM NBA D-League Select Thomas & Mack
Sun. July 19 5:30 PM New Orleans Hornets Thomas & Mack

Denver Nuggets Announce their Summer League Roster

The two big names on the Denver Nuggets’ summer league roster are Sonny Weems and Ty Lawson.  It will be fun to see what Weems can do after lighting up the D-League and of course it will be a lot of fun to check out Lawson’s first taste of quasi NBA ball too.

Apart from those two there are a couple of intriguing names on the list.

Derrick Byars is a sweet shooting swingman from Vanderbilt who, if memory serves, was a second round draft pick by Dallas last season.  Richard Hendrix is a big boy who specializes in scoring in the lane.  He is a poor man’s Zach Randolph and I think he belongs in the league somehwere.

There are a couple of players who were on NBA rosters last season.  From that category we have Kareem Rush who is an unrestricted free agent after playing with Philadelphia last season.  Cedric Simmons was a mamber of the Chicago Bulls before getting shipped off to the Sacramento Kings in the trade that saw the Bulls acquire Brad Miller and John Salmons.

The big name we should have all seen coming from a mile away is none other than Coby Karl.  Karl did a very good job last summer in Las Vegas so I expect him to look good again.  He probably does belong in the NBA at the end of someone’s bench.

A couple of interesting things to take note of is Lawson is the only true point guard on the roster.  Look for him to play almost every second he possibly can as he gets a crash course on how to play NBA defense.  Karl would probably be considered the backup point guard  (showcasing his versatility to the rest of the NBA?).

They also have three shooters on the roster on a list of nine guys, because shooting is an important skill to have.

No. Player Pos. Ht. Wt. Birthdate School/Country Exp.
8 Derrick Byars G/F 6-7 220 4/25/84 Vanderbilt R
7 Ronald Dupree F 6-7 209 1/26/81 LSU 5
12 C.J. Giles F/C 6-11 240 9/25/85 Oregon State R
6 Richard Hendrix F 6-9 255 11/15/86 Alabama R
22 Coby Karl G 6-5 215 3/6/83 Boise State 1
3 Ty Lawson G 5-11 195 11/3/87 North Carolina R
10 Kareem Rush G 6-6 215 10/30/80 Missouri 6
5 Cedric Simmons F 6-9 235 1/3/86 North Carolina State 3
13 Sonny Weems G/F 6-6 203 7/8/86 Arkansas 1

Keep in mind that these rosters are fluid and they may add a player or two.

I do not expect any of these guys to make the regular season roster for Denver unless they are not abel to sign anyone in free agency and lose Dahntay Jones and Linas Kleiza. Perhaps hte best opportunity would be if Ronald Dupree can prove to replace Jones as the defensive swingman.

Click here to see the schedule.  No news on TV or Internet coverage as of yet.

Update: Dupree and Hendrix are also playing for the Orlando Magic in the Orlando Summer League. If Orlando signs one or both to a contract they will not be playing for Denver.

Denver Nuggets Summer League Schedule

The NBA has announced the schedule for the summer league games held in Los Vegas and the Nuggets will be playing six games.  Games are played at either the Cox Pavilion or the Thomas & Mack Center.  Games begin on Friday July 10, but Denver does not see the court until July 14.  I am guessing the start times are Pacific.

Denver vs. San Antonio – 7:00 PM Tuesday,  July 14 – Cox Pavilion

Denver vs. Washington – 7:30 PM Wednesday, July 15 – Thomas & Mack

Denver vs. Portland – 7:30 PM Friday, July 17 – Thomas & Mack

NBA D-League Select vs. Denver – 7:00 PM Saturday, July 18 – Cox Pavilion

Denver vs. New Orleans – 5:30 PM Sunday, July 19 – Thomas & Mack

The Nuggets have had some good talent on their summer league roster in the past, but it is difficult for even a good player to make the jump from summer league standout to earning a spot on the regular season roster.  Last season Dahntay Jones was able to do just that and depending on what Denver does with players like Linas Kleiza, Anthony Carter, Johan Petro, Renaldo Balkman and Jones there could be a chance for someone to follow in Dahntay’s footsteps.