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Preview: The Denver Nuggets kick off summer league against the Houston Rockets

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Basketball is back!

NBA: Draft Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Gird your loins, everybody, Nuggets basketball is back!!!

The Denver Nuggets kickoff the Las Vegas Summer League (LVSL) Friday night against the Houston Rockets. It is the first of three scheduled games the Nuggets will play before being seeded for the single-elimination LVSL tournament. Second year players, Juancho Hernangomez and Malik Beasley are the big names to keep an eye on. Juancho played over 800 minutes in his rookie season and shot over 40% on more than 100 three-point attempts. Beasley played much more sparingly but had a few productive stints in the D-League.

Denver’s 2017 NBA draft picks will also make their debut. 6’8” Tyler Lydon, the 24th pick in the draft out of Syracuse is a stretch big that shot 40% in two seasons for the Orangemen. He was a very surprising pick at 24 so most Nuggets fans will be getting their first look at him on a basketball court. Monte Morris was taken 51st overall. The four-year point guard out of Iowa State was known as a great floor general and pure point guard.

The Rockets roster includes German-American center, Isaiah Hartenstein and University of Nevada’s Cameron Oliver.

The Basics

Who: Denver Nuggets vs. Houston Rockets
Where: Cox Pavillion, Las Vegas, Nevada
When: 6:00 PM MT
How to watch: ESPN3 or NBATV
Rival blog: The Dream Shake

Position Nuggets Rockets Advantage
PG Monte Morris Isaiah Taylor No idea
SG Malik Beasley Cameron Oliver Nuggets
SF Juancho Hernangomez Troy Williams Nuggets
PF Tyler Lydon Zhou Qi No idea
C Petr Cornelie Isaiah Hartenstein Even?
Bench ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Nuggets

Things to look for

Will Malik Beasley and Juancho Hernangomez stand out?

Second year players tend to stick out in the opening games of summer league. Part of it is that they’ve been through the circus before and they have some experience under their belt of playing at NBA speed. Juancho went toe to toe with the Warriors this year and came out on top. Beasley has a game tailor made for summer league. I expect both of them to be aggressive and to have the offense run through them. In fact, I’m more excited for those two than anyone else on the Nuggets roster.

What can Tyler Lydon and Monte Morris do?

This will be my third summer league as a Nuggets blogger and the first one that I will attend without any prior knowledge of the rookies on the team. I know that Lydon can shoot. I know that Morris is solid all around but not spectacular anywhere. But I don’t really know what type of players they are beyond that. So on the one hand, I’m excited to find out. On the other hand, my expectations are pretty low.

First look at Nikola Radicevic

I have to admit that I am fascinated by Radicevic. He was really fun to talk to the other day at Nuggets practice. He seemed eager to prove himself and desperate to be a part of the NBA. With the Nuggets adding Morris at the draft and rumored to be interested in Wanamaker in free agency, I don’t think Radicevic has a great chance of coming over anytime soon. That being said, his game is supposed to be similar to Goran Dragic and that is a player I really enjoy watching. So if this is the only chance we’ll ever get to see of him in a Nuggets jersey, I’m going to enjoy the ride.