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Preview: Nuggets back in Summer League action against Timberwolves

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Game two in Las Vegas

NBA: Phoenix Suns at Denver Nuggets Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

The Summer Nuggets are back in action this afternoon in a Sunday matinee of the Las Vegas Summer League against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Denver dropped its summer opener against Houston on Friday night in a close match against Houston, while Minnesota opened its summer league with a blowout loss to Toronto yesterday.

In the opener, Denver’s summer roster both impressed (Malik Beasley, Juancho Hernangomez, Nikola Radicevic, Robert Carter Jr) and left many questions to be answered (Tyler Lydon, Petr Cornelie). Meanwhile, now that the Wolves have done some serious offseason shopping, gone are the familiar faces of guys Tyus Jones and Kris Dunn; instead, Denver will get a good look at several new Timberpups who will be looking to make a name for themselves in any possible way.

The Basics

Who: Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Denver Nuggets
Where: Thomas and Mack Center, Las Vegas, NV
When: 4:30 PM MT
How to watch: ESPN 2
Rival blog: Canis Hoopus

Position Nuggets Wolves Advantage
PG Monte Morris Marcus Paige No idea
SG Malik Beasley V.J. Beachem Nuggets
SF Juancho Hernangomez Perry Ellis Nuggets
PF Tyler Lydon Deonte Burton No idea
C Petr Cornelie Amile Jefferson Probably Wolves
Bench Nikola Radicevic, Robert Carter Jr, Torrey Craig ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Nuggets

What to watch for

Malik and Juancho. On paper, these two guys should be far and away better than the rest of the field. Was that the case Friday night? Beasley had 29 points, but he took 30 shots to get there. Juancho shot 40% from three, but he also had seven turnovers. Seeing as these two are the most likely to get actual playing time during the regular season, it would be nice to see them come out a bit more composed, efficient, and to play a bit more intelligently. Hopefully game one was just them shaking off the rust.

Tyler Lydon’s Impact. Did the Nuggets first round draft pick even suit up against Houston? Lydon had 26 minutes but they might have been the most invisible 26 minutes ever. He made one three-pointer early, but other than that didn’t really do anything except try to not screw up. For someone’s first taste of NBA caliber basketball that’s fine, but he needs to step out of his shell and show he deserves to be in there with the rest of these guys. Six FGAs in 26 minutes from someone whose strongest asset is shooting doesn’t cut it.

Who will break out today? One of the best parts of Summer League is that most of the guys playing will never see a meaningful minute played in the NBA. As such, these guys are scrapping for any kind of success or to show any reason why they should make a roster. It’s fun, and it makes watching these games unpredictable. Friday night it was Robert Carter Jr. who seemingly came out of nowhere, dropping 17 points on just 5-7 shooting and grabbing six boards. Will someone else have a big game today? My money is on Monte Morris.