There's nothing more difficult than doing a self evaluation, but new Denver Nuggets point guard Emmanuel Mudiay summed up his game well in a conference call with the Denver media.
"I'm an athletic point guard that just loves to make his teammates better, get his teammates involved, score as well," said Mudiay. "I'm going to defend, do everything I can to make the team win. I'm a winner. I just want to win as many championships as I can. That's one thing that I want to bring to this city."
The Nuggets have yet to reach the NBA Finals in their 48 year existence, perhaps Mudiay will be a difference maker for the franchise. He had to sweat things out a bit, or perhaps it was Nuggets fans sweating and hoping Mudiay would be available for the team to select at no. 7.
"I asked my agent before I went [to Barclays Center] what was my range, and he said from 2-7," explained Mudiay. "So, I was like, 'Oh, okay.' I was just waiting, being patient, I was at peace the whole time. Seven is my favorite number, so it's a perfect number."
The good folks of Colorado know the number seven very well. It was worn by Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway, and even Chauncey Billups wore it in his return to Denver in 2008 - the year the Nuggets went to the Western Conference Finals.
To casual fans, they might not know much about Mudiay. It shouldn't take long to find out what he's all about. He played just 12 games last season for the Guangdong Southern Tigers, but scored 18 points per game on 47.8% shooting. He only shot 57.4% from the free throw line (27-47), but knows he has to keep working on his shooting, as today's game is all about spacing.
"They can keep [being concerned], I'm not concerned," said Mudiay about his shooting. "I'm just going to keep working on it, stay consistent with it, get as many reps as I can. I'm confident in my jump-shot. So people that say they don't have confidence in it or whatever, I can't really listen to that. I just have to keep working on my game and getting better."
Mudiay sprained his ankle early in the season in China, but returned to action. That is important because most American players, that have the option to return to the NBA, do so after getting injured. Mudiay showed the Tigers that he was serious about playing for the team, and that should go a long way to revealing his character.
"I don't regret it, not one bit. I think the most difficult thing that happened [in China] was when I went down with an injury," said Mudiay. "I really had to find myself. The country was great to me, the fanbase was great, the coaches, the team, everybody treated me well. But the difference that I'll say was there, was definitely the physicality of the game. It was like a playoff basketball environment, every single game."
The Chinese leagues have a good reputation for being a "man's league." Along with the style, there are other things in the Chinese league that will help Mudiay transition to the NBA.
"It definitely helped me in a great way because I was playing against grown men, grown man strength. Just being there with a 24 second shot clock, learning how to play with that system," said Mudiay. "So, the transition shouldn't be that bad. I'm really excited."
The next step for Mudiay, he'll be headed to Denver on Friday, June 26th for his introductory press conference. He'll also need to get familiar with the Denver front office and staff, since he didn't workout for the Nuggets ahead of the draft.
"I didn't talk to them, I didn't work out for them, but they see something in me that, I guess, the other teams didn't. So, I'm really really excited," said Mudiay. "I know they're a young team, they're a showtime team. You got Ty Lawson, Kenneth Faried, J.J. Hickson and them, they love to get up-and-down the court. And that's my style of play, so it should be definitely fun."
And the fun really starts on the defensive end for Mudiay under new coach Michael Malone, and that'll be a nice match with Emmanuel.
"I love to guard the best player on the other team," Mudiay said. "That's the competitive spirit of mine. I feel like that what's going to separate the game, not too many people want to play defense."
And defense is where Ohio State star, and now Los Angeles Lakers guard D'Angelo Russell has question marks. Who does Mudiay think will be the better player?
Said Mudiay, "We're going to find out who the best guard was 10 years from now."
Mudiay on teaming up with Nikola Jokic, the two were teammates at the 2014 Nike Hoops Summit game and will be rookies together in Denver.
"He's a stretch that can shoot the ball," said Mudiay. "I really haven't played with him long enough to be a teammate, but I've seen a lot of what he can do in that Hoops Summit, so he's definitely a great player. I'm excited to play with the whole team."