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Denver Nuggets: The Boys of Summer

After an unexpected 2018-19 season, your Denver Nuggets have a highly anticipated Summer League starting tomorrow night

NBA, Denver Nuggets 2018 rookie draft class
Last season’s rookies, this season’s Summer League frontcourt
Photo by Aaron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images

“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

- Thomas Jefferson

Happy Independence Day, Nuggets Nation. Here is hoping your fourth is fabulous, and filled with fun, family, friends, food, and fireworks. I’ll be pursuing a little happiness from the holiday all the way through the following ten days of Summer League hoops. For your Denver Nuggets, their Fourth will be filled with formations and flights, as they finish their final practice and head to Las Vegas to pursue a little happiness and hopefully set off a few fireworks of their own starting tomorrow night.

Alliteration aside, the already-young Nuggets get their first full view of what the next generation of Nuggets might bring, with the highly anticipated debut of Michael Porter, Jr. sometimes overshadowing the excitement to be found in other enticing prospects. There are names that Nuggets fans are wildly-to-somewhat familiar with like Jarred Vanderbilt, Thomas Welsh, Brandon Goodwin, and Vlatko Cancar. Those who have been following along know to watch closely to Terence Davis and Jordan Davis (no relation, I believe), as Terence was climbing the draft boards all Spring, and Jordan made his name right up the road in Greeley at UNC. But there are also eight more gents chomping at the bit to make a name for themselves in Las Vegas. Here’s a quick look at everybody that Denver is taking a gamble on in Vegas BUT Porter, as you can find a couple dozen articles on expectations for him in a cursory search, including a few on your favorite Nuggets resource.

Jarred Vanderbilt

Nuggets fans got a solid look at Vanderbilt last season, between a few cursory late-game appearances with the big club and some decent time in the G-League, he showed himself well on several of those occasions. With solid defensive skills and an off-the-charts ability to rebound, Jarred should see plenty of floor time this Summer. He’s even got a knack for the odd pass here and there. He’s also a pretty cool dude, if you missed Adam Mares’ great chat with him on his podcast yesterday. Vando is ready to play.

Thomas Welsh

“Big Tom” is most everybody’s favorite Nugget, led by Denver’s own Will Barton. As one of the nicest guys in the game, Welsh’s kind reputation precedes him, but he’s got a game that can certainly be a little nastier. Welsh’s height (7’) and range (43% from outside the arc last season), Welsh can stretch the floor in ways that could drive any opponent crazy, let alone Summer League competition.

Brandon Goodwin

Goodwin saw less than 60 minutes of floor time for the Nuggets last season, and still made enough of an impression in his short time in Denver as to warrant another look this summer. He certainly made an impression for Memphis in last year’s summer league, with a 27-point outburst against Portland.

Vlatko Cancar

The 6’11” Cancar has been a Nuggets Nation “deep cut” for the last two seasons as Denver has stashed him overseas since drafting him with the 49th pick in 2017. Cancar showed a real feel for the NBA game in last year’s summer contests, and seems like yet another late-in-the-game draftee who could pan out for the Nuggets. Too bad they don’t have any other prime examples of big men from Meg Leks to fall back on.

Terence Davis

Davis “Is an NBA player” according to Summer League coach Jordi Fernandez, as covered by Stiff’s own Brendan Vogt. After a quiet freshman season at Ole Miss, he was a terror on the court for his last three years at the school, and then climbed the charts and making the most of every opportunity this Spring until he was oft-reported to be considered for the draft. Keep an eye for Terence to see some floor time this summer, and to possibly land with an NBA squad that could use his services, whether in Denver or not.

Jordan Davis

Davis the second made a short trip from Greeley to the Pepsi Center to show off his talents in Vegas this summer. As the All-time leading scorer at UNC, Davis is familiar to Northern Coloradoans for his skills on and off the court. There will definitely be several Nuggets fans rooting for a little home cooking from Davis over the next ten days.

UNC Bears Guard Jordan Davis Is More Than Just His Scoring Record

University of Northern Colorado, UNC guard Jordan Davis is the all-time leading scorer in program history. But his involvement in the Northern Colorado basketball program stretches far beyond the basketball floor. https://cbsloc.al/2HwnKJH

Posted by CBS Denver on Monday, March 11, 2019

Rion Brown

Brown has most recently been playing in Greece. A 6’6” guard with a soft touch, he’s averaged double-digit scoring in each of his last two seasons overseas.

Brandon Gilbeck

A 22-year old 7’ center who averaged 10 points and three blocks a game in his last two seasons at Western Illinois, Gilbeck can alter a game with his size and positioning.

Kenny Goins

Goins is a stout 6’7” forward from Michigan State who was a walk-on to start his career with Tom Izzo, but had a scholarship by his second season, helped the Spartans to the Final Four this past year, and proved to be a terrific defender throughout.

Tyler Harris

The brother of Tobias Harris, Tyler worked out for several pro teams before taking his act over to the French A League. He’s hoping to make an even stronger impression with his Summer League play and join his brother in the bigs.

Martin Krampelj

The 6’9” Krampelj is coming off a 13.5 point-per-game average in his fourth season at Creighton, with a double-double against Providence back in March. Though he’s battled through three ACL tears in his past, he’s got eyes on him to see how he’ll handle hoops at the pro level, even if it takes him overseas.

Keifer Sykes

Sykes has seen time in the G-League and overseas. The 5’11” guard has also put up a big game once or twice in his career, including...

Skylar Spencer

The 6’9” Spencer had a solid career at San Diego State before a year in the G-League and a year playing in Europe brought him Denver’s way for the summer.

Jae’sean Tate

Tate played his college ball at Ohio State before picking up a job overseas, just after graduation. His father Jermaine also played at Ohio State (and Cincinnati) before playing overseas in the 90’s. Jae’sean became a full time starter during his freshman year at OSU, and has averaged double-digit points as a scorer since.

Coming off of a highly successful season and primarily standing pat on their lineup means that roster slots are at a premium in Denver this upcoming season. While the lion’s share of this group will be wearing a Nuggets jersey come October, there are several interesting pieces amongst a diversely skilled and talented team. Here’s hoping we see several sets of fireworks between now and the 15th. When was the last time you payed this much attention to Summer League, Nuggets Nation?

Poll

When was the last time you payed this much attention to the Denver Nuggets Summer League play?

This poll is closed

  • 23%
    Last year. I always love Summer League.
    (71 votes)
  • 31%
    I always follow along, but am especially interested this year.
    (95 votes)
  • 21%
    I’ll be paying a lot more attention to this year’s games, news, and scores.
    (65 votes)
  • 13%
    This is the first time I’ll pay attention to Summer League.
    (39 votes)
  • 6%
    I still won’t be paying attention this year.
    (18 votes)
  • 4%
    None of the above.
    (12 votes)
300 votes total Vote Now