The Nuggets signed DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell to a two-way contract, filling out the roster at 17 players. How would you describe Akoon-Purcell’s game to someone who may have not watched any Summer League games?
Ryan Blackburn (@NBABlackburn): Akoon-Purcell is basically a wing-sized ball of energy with the potential to develop a solid jump shot. He always plays with 100% effort, and it was very clear during his time in Summer League that he earned this opportunity through effort. If he does get into games next year, it will be as a guy who can shake things up for Denver from time to time. With so much offensive firepower in the backcourt, Denver needs someone to be a spark. Right now, that’s Torrey Craig, but Akoon-Purcell has a chance to be that type of player too.
Brendan Vogt (@Bvogt422): Shot of energy. Akoon-Purcell made a name for himself with his hustle and grit. He’s fairly undersized for a guy who has been listed as a forward for most of his career, though he showed some shooting ability and might be able to survive in the NBA as a backup guard. There’s some skill there for sure, but when you think of him, you think of hustle.
Daniel Lewis (@minutemandan): Since everybody else is going to say hustle, grit, and grind, I’ll go with intangibles. I have questions about his ability to do anything on the court other than defend and rebound, but he’s going to be similar to Torrey Craig in that he’s not going to take any opportunities for granted. He seems like a player that could really benefit from adding more muscle to his frame, allowing him to bully players with his physicality.
Zach Mikash (@ZachMikash): He’s a G-league level playmaker who doesn’t get lost on the court and should be able to fit in with the flow of the offense. When he’s out there playing for a contract he can be a bit hero ballish, but hopefully now that he is locked into a two-way that will subside.
The Nuggets preseason schedule was released recently — what stands out about the Nuggets five game slate to you?
Blackburn: Only one home game, two games against the Los Angeles Lakers in California, and only two broadcasted contests. It feels like the Nuggets as an organization don’t see a ton of opportunity to promote themselves in the preseason, which is fine. As long as they use the schedule as a proper tune-up to be ready for the start of the regular season, it hardly matters. Still, I think more fans would come see LeBron James at Pepsi Center than people realize.
Vogt: There’s only one home game and it’s against Perth. That’s a little disappointing. The fans are excited to watch this team play and probably would have enjoyed an NBA opponent, even if it is the preseason. Also, only two broadcasted games as Ryan mentioned. Kind of a bummer. But at least we got some hoops on the horizon.
Lewis: The Nuggets play against the Lakers twice and the Clippers once - these should be interesting games for the team to see where they are at after training camp. It’ll be a good test for players like Malik Beasley and Monte Morris, similar to Summer League, but this time they’ll be going against more experienced players. Both LA teams will have players trying to show off for their coaches, which should make those games entertaining. I would be shocked if LeBron played major minutes, but it’ll be cool to see him in purple and gold, and by cool, I mean it’ll make me want to vomit.
Mikash: My main take away from the Preseason schedule, which is very much in line with every preseason schedule the Nuggets have had for the past decade, is that at least this time they had the decency to schedule the second game against the Lakers somewhere else than Ontario, California, which of course is abbreviated to Ontario, CA and completely throws us all out of wack.
Several Nuggets players have hosted basketball camps this summer. Which player’s camp would you most want to attend if you were a kid?
Blackburn: If I were a kid, I’d definitely attend Will Barton’s camp. On top of being a remarkable story for a player that developed a number of skills and honed his game as a second round pick, he’s just cool, plays like a street baller, and gets buckets. It would be fun to model my childhood game after Will Barton.
Vogt: I would like to attend Nikola Jokic’s horse-riding camp.
Lewis: I’d want to fly to Spain for Juancho Hernangomez’s (theoretical) basketball camp, but it’s not for basketball reasons, it’s for culinary reasons. Have you ever eaten paella? Now there is an amazing dish. I would leave camp looking like a current-day Nikola Jokic, just completely satiated.
Mikash: You guys are all way off, it’s clearly camp Vlatko Cancar!!!!! Y’all can learn basketball or horse riding or eat paella, me and Vlatko are going to be getting our swole on. I mean, it’s been a month since Summer League and dude is looking like this? Forget basketball, after attending Camp Vlatko I’m going to be primed for a role in a remake of the movie 300.
Which Denver Nuggets player would you most want to attend Elitch Gardens with?
Vogt: Isaiah Thomas because if I don’t meet the height requirements for a ride then he probably won’t either. Plus it’s really nice not to look directly up when you talk to a basketball player for a change.
Blackburn: Again, it’s hard to say anyone other than Will Barton for me. Hit up some roller coasters, walk around the park, do the log ride into the splash zone, then get some food and drinks after. That would be a fun day, and Barton’s the guy to liven it up even more.
Lewis: I’d want to go with Jamal Murray or Gary Harris. I’ve always really liked playing the carnival games, and I bet one of them would be able to match me in the 3-point shootout or trying to climb the rope ladder. I was going to choose Millsap, but then we’d have to take his kids to the baby section, and I don’t want to be hanging out with small children.
Mikash: I too am choosing IT for height reasons. Listen, you spend your career straining your neck to look up at guys and, well, you get pretty excited for a guy who comes to your eye level. I also might go with Jokic and his brothers, just cut in front of every line and dare someone to call our crew on it.
Blake Horstmann, a native of Bailey, Colo., came in second on The Bachelorette. Does Nugglife apply in this situation as well?
Vogt: I assume. But can we address the elephant in the room here? What the hell kind of name is Blake Horstmann? Do his friends call him horseman? They should call him horseman.
Lewis: What Becca said when she broke up with him was basically every free agent’s message to Denver. “I think that we could be right and we could be partners, but I think there’s just a better fit for us out there.” Here’s hoping there is good news in the future for Blake (and the Nuggets).
Mikash: The only thing Nugglife about Blake’s situation is being born with that amazing facial bone structure only to be saddled with that nose.