Evan Fournier's 20 points not enough as Nuggets lose to Bulls, Hamilton playing with heavy heart

USA TODAY Sports

Improved play all around for Nuggets in a 93-81 loss to the Bulls.

The Summer League is about more than wins and losses and stat sheets. The Nuggets came up short of finding their first win, but the team performed better in their second game in Las Vegas.

Jordan Hamilton: 27 minutes, 4-11 shooting (3-5 from deep) for 11 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals

Hamilton has been playing with a heavy heart:

He will miss the Nuggets game on July 16th to attend his cousin's funeral in Los Angeles, but was gracious with his time after the game - signing cards and answering questions from reporters (myself and Charlie Yao from Roundball Mining Company).

His summer has been spent working out in Denver, but he has also been spending as much time as he can with his family.

"Right now I've been going through a few things with the passing of a close cousin," said Hamilton. "And my grandmother being really sick. I've just been trying to spend a lot of family time before the season."

Balancing family and basketball cannot be an easy task, but the third year forward has been making the best of it. With a new coach and a new general manager, Hamilton's trying to navigate his way through the new landscape.

"It's a new opportunity; I've just got to make the best of it," said Hamilton. "I got to get in the best shape of my life, especially if I want to step in and play these minutes that I think I'm gonna play - as long as I work."

Hamilton barely got off the bench under George Karl's watch. The Nuggets struggled to find shooting throughout the season and playoffs, yet Karl never turned to the young forward out of Texas. He's still eager to learn and eager to prove himself on the floor. As has been his attitude since coming to the Nuggets, he's willing to play wherever the coaches see fit.

"Whatever they want me to play: two, three, or four," said Hamilton. "I know I can play some stretch four, so I'll see."

With Karl gone, Hamilton may have a second-chance with the Nuggets under Brian Shaw.

"He [Shaw] seems like a cool guy, he seems like a fair guy," said Hamilton. "That being said, I think there's not going to be anybody who's going to be a favorite or anything like that. If you work, you're going to get some minutes. I'm looking forward to the season."

Evan Fournier: 28 min, 7-15 shooting (4-8 on threes, 2-4 FT) for 20 pts, 2 rebs, 3 turnovers

Fournier got his shot going and was taking open looks and being more aggressive and "good selfish" with his drives. We didn't get to see Fournier the playmaker tonight, but that's okay. A bit of a breakout game for him and he took control of the offense.

Quincy Miller: 23 min, 3-9 shooting (0-2 from deep) for 6 pts, 6 rebs, 2 ast, 3 blks

His opponents have not been respecting his shot blocking ability and this is the second game where he has recorded multiple rejections. His maturing frame wouldn't make it seem this way, but his post defense has been pretty good and his ability to stay with quicker players still rings true. His deep shot hasn't quite found its home and that is frustrating Miller, but he just needs to keep trusting his shot. He was hitting the glass again and moving the ball well tonight. He's still a small forward being asked to play down low and he's doing an admirable job.

Erick Green: 21 min, 4-8 shooting (3-4 from deep, 0-2 FT) for 11 pts, 3 rebs, 1 ast, 1 blk

Green played on the offensive end with more confidence against the Bulls and trusted his shot. He had one good drive that he finished at the rim for a layup, but when he did get to the foul line (off a jumper) he didn't connect on his free throws. After the game he still wasn't satisfied with himself, but he's coming along for a rookie. More aggression and more trusting his game.

The Nuggets' next game is July 16th at 8 p.m. MT at the Cox Pavilion.

Excuse me just focusing on the three Nuggets and one rookie - it's late and I gotta get some sleep!

Nate_Timmons on Twitter
ntimmons73@yahoo.com

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