After missing their first game due to an earthquake and possible safety issues on Friday night, the Denver Nuggets officially opened their Summer League schedule on Sunday in the late afternoon, winning their contest against the Orlando Magic 84-79. Terrence Davis led all Nuggets with 22 points, while Erik McCree led the Magic with 17. Denver closed the fourth quarter with a long run with great defensive pressure and capitalized on Orlando’s miscues offensively
Initially, offense was difficult to come by for both teams, as roughly 12 points were scored between both teams during the first five minutes of the game. After that, the Nuggets began opening up the floor from behind the arc, including threes by Terrence Davis, Brandon Goodwin, Rion Brown, and Thomas Welsh.
Jarred Vanderbilt showcased his elite role player potential on both ends, grabbing offensive rebounds and moving his feet well defensively. Brandon Goodwin also showed why the Nuggets have faith in him. He played well defensively and operated well on and off the ball on the other end.
But the real star for the Nuggets was former Ole Miss four-year shooting guard Terrence Davis, who accumulated 22 points on five three pointers and was all over the floor on both sides, showcasing offensive spacing, defensive hustle, and an intelligence that the Nuggets will need from role players down the road. He was confident in the Summer League environment and consistently pushed the envelope, taking and making the shots he needed to take.
The Nuggets let Kenrich Williams go last season in favor of keeping other guys on the roster, and with the way Williams, a similarly intelligent role player, has established himself in New Orleans, it would be smart for the Nuggets to think twice before letting him go to another team. Denver won’t be able to keep all of their young guys going forward and might have to pick or choose. Having a smart role player on the wing in Terrence Davis long term makes a degree of sense if Denver doesn’t think they can afford Malik Beasley’s next contract.
Another player who stood out was Jae’Sean Tate, who was a bit late to the party but had an amazing sequence in the fourth quarter, throwing down a couple of dunks and hustling defensively.
What a sequence from Jae'Sean Tate! Monster dunk then a block on the other end. pic.twitter.com/pLZpwXSGRi— Ben Pfeifer (@Ben_Pfeifer_) July 7, 2019
The Nuggets struggled a little bit to close the game down the stretch but ultimately pulled it out, moving to 1-0 in Summer League play.
Denver’s next Summer League contest will be played on Tuesday against the Boston Celtics at 6:00 pm MST on ESPN2.