John Henson shines for Bucks in win over Nuggets

O.D. Anosike, Quincy Miller, Erick Green, Evan Fournier, and Jordan Hamilton started for Denver. - Nate Timmons

The Denver Nuggets dropped their first summer league game to the Milwaukee Bucks 88-74.

The undersized Nuggets were in for a long night with the the lengthy John Henson patrolling the paint for the Bucks. He did basically whatever he wanted en route to 19 points, 13 rebounds, and 3 blocks (all on Quincy Miller). He was active on the glass and in the pick-and-roll game for the Bucks, who dominated the Nuggets.

Not the most exciting performance by the Nuggets, but they should only get better from here. The squad started: rookie Erick Green at point guard, Evan Fournier at shooting guard, Jordan Hamilton at small forward, Quincy Miller at power forward, and O.D. Anosike at center - he goes just 6'7" and was trying to anchor the team.

Here are some quotes and thoughts about the individual performances on everyone who played:

Erick Green: 22 minutes, 2-12 shooting (0-2 from deep) for 4 points, 1 assist, 1 rebound, 1 turnover

"I just didn't hit my shots," said Green. "I had wide open shots, didn't hit them, they weren't falling. Overall, I didn't turn the ball over and I thought I ran the team. There are things I have to work on. I have to be a little bit more aggressive and hit my shots. It felt good to be out there. I was nervous at first, timid, I had the jitters, but once I got going after the first quarter it was good."

Some other specifics that Green is working on:

"Just showing I can be a point guard," said Green. "Also play good defense, and go full-out at all times."

Green showed off his floater and went 1-3 on them.

"That's my shot, I've been hitting that ever since high school," said Green. "It just wasn't falling today, but things like that happen. I have to re-group, concentrate and put it behind me, and keep going."

Green could have played more aggressive. He was a foul drawing machine in college and when he got around his defender against the Bucks, he pulled up for floaters too early or passed the ball out of scoring situations. Some nights shots just won't fall and Green recognized that. On the defensive end, he was aggressive and trying to stick with his man, he got beat a few times and the pick-and-roll coverage needs to be better. With this game behind him, hopefully we'll see some better performances out of the young point guard.

Ben Uzoh: 17 min, 4-7 shooting (1-1 from deep and 2-2 free throws) for 11 points, 3 rebs, 2 asts, 2 stls

Uzoh can get the job done with a workman like effort. His experience allowed him to get into a better offensive flow than Green and his defensive effort is there. He's a long-shot to make an NBA roster, but a nice performance against the Bucks offensively.

Darius Johnson Odom: 14 min, 3-8 shooting (1-2 from deep, 3-4 FT) for 10 points, 1 reb, 3 asts, 1 turnover

Odom is an aggressive offensive player that looked to get himself involved offensively. If the Nuggets are wanting to look at their young guys, it doesn't make a ton of sense to give big minutes to Odom, but he did provide a little offensive spark that the team needed.

Evan Fournier: 25 min, 4-11 shooting (1-4 from deep, 1-2 FT) for 10 pts, 3 rebs, 1 stl, 3 turnovers

He was aggressive and opportunistic on offense. He looked good with the ball in his hands and ran a couple pretty pick-and-rolls where he found the roll man with difficult passes. Fournier looks a little bigger than he did last season and has the same aggressive defensive style. Fours could be in for a breakout season as the Nuggets will need his increased presence on this team. He seems ready to break out with his high-IQ play, playmaking style, and pretty shot. Now let's see him have a big game or two.

Travis Releford: 13 min, 2-4 shooting for 4 points, 3 rebs, 2 stls, 1 turnover

His game is intriguing because he has good size for a shooting guard and an aggressive style. His long arms allowed him to grab two steals and his defensive awareness was sorely needed. On offense, he should trust his shot a bit more as he didn't take a couple opportunities out on the perimeter. Not sure if he'll stick on an NBA roster, but an interesting watch.

Jordan Hamilton: 26 min, 1-11 shooting (0-3 from deep, 2-3 FT) for 4 points, 9 rebs (3 offensive), 6 fouls

His shot betrayed him against the Bucks, but, like a shooter should, he kept letting it fly. Hamilton was playing aggressive on both ends of the floor, but he committed a couple fouls that he easily could have avoided. He was the team's most aggressive rebounder, along with Quincy Miller, and continued to play bigger than he looks. Let's see him get his offense going and continue to give effort on the defensive end.

Quincy Miller: 25 min, 3-11 shooting (1-4 from deep, 2-2 FT) for 9 points, 8 rebs (5 offensive), 1 ast, 3 TOs, 3 blks

"I just didn't make shots tonight," said Miller. "I missed a few tonight that I usually make, that I've been working on, but I just got to bounce back in the next one. I'm getting better on the boards, I crashed the boards a lot tonight."

Miller's impressions on new head coach Brian Shaw?

"I love Coach Shaw," said Miller. "One of the coolest guys ever. He tells you how it is and keeps it straight with you at all times, he doesn't feed you [any nonsense]."

Miller was harder on his performance than he should have been. He was not happy with his performance and he wore that on his sleeve after the game. He looked much more confident out on the floor than at any point last season. He trusted his shot and that will pay off and he was aggressive inside. He's being asked to play power forward with so many wings on this roster, so he had issues against the much bigger Henson. Miller said he's weighing about 224 pounds at this time and has been hard at work on getting stronger. He will look for a role in the rotation this season and could very well be rewarded with his improved play.

O.D. Anosike: 13 min, 1-2 shooting for 2 points, 1 reb, 2 stls

Not an impressive outing for the big rebounder. He struggled to find a comfort zone and got beat inside on the defensive end. The undersized power forward was asked to play center and it wasn't very pretty.

Rich Howell: 13 min, 0-1 shooting (1-2 FT) for 1 point, 4 rebs, 3 stls

Howell ran the roll part to the pick-and-roll pretty well, but was unable to finish a few times as he got his shot blocked and missed a bunny. He rushed himself and needs to realize that with an undersized height he'll have to be a bit more creative inside. He is built like a dump-truck and has excellent size to do some banging in the paint. Let's see how he does the rest of the way.

Luke Harangody: 17 min, 4-9 shooting (1-1 from deep, 2-2 FT) for 11 points, 2 rebs, 1 ast

Harangody wasn't shy looking for his offense. He had one pretty finish inside where he drew some heavy contact and put in a circus layup. His unorthodox shot found the range from deep on one occasion and he got swatted on another. He wasn't impressive on the boards and got beat on the pick-and-roll by his roll man a few times. He looks like a long-shot to get back on an NBA roster and it'll be interesting to see how his minutes are handled the rest of the way as he logged the most back-up big man minutes.

Kyle Barone: 10 min, 4-4 shooting for 8 points, 2 rebs, 1 ast, 1 stl

Barone on his first summer league action:

"Get used to the game, the speed, the spacing, defense, and all that," said Barone. "The first game, the first couple minutes it felt a little different, but once you get into the game you lose that and just play."

"I'm just going to be ready whether I play two minutes or forty minutes, I'll be ready," said Barone. "I think I did that, played my role, and just finished around the basket. I'm not necessarily a "pound-it" type of big. I want to use my dribble and my quickness. First step, get around the defender and make him guard that first move and then play off what he does with that first dribble. Tonight I was able to make a couple moves and I'm going to continue to be aggressive when I do get a chance."

He was Denver's best big man. He was great cutting to the hoop, where his teammates found him for dunks in traffic. He showed a little jumper and played with great energy. He's a true big man and could easily start at center for this team, and likely should. If he puts on performances like this, he could get a training camp invite from someone - teams love big men that play with energy and play his aggressive style.

The box score and highlights of the game can be found here at NBA.com.


Nate_Timmons on Twitter
ntimmons73@yahoo.com

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