As part of Denver Stiffs’ transition from Denver Nuggets postseason coverage to offseason coverage, staff members will be conducting End of Season Reviews for all 17 players on the roster. There will continue to be news, NBA draft, free agency, and trade articles, but over the next three weeks, an accompanying End of Season review (or two) will also post every week day.
Today’s review: Tyler Cook
Rounding out the reviews of the players that didn’t really play this season is rookie power forward Tyler Cook. After playing his college ball at University of Iowa, Cook wasn’t selected in the 2019 NBA Draft. Listed at 6’8, 255 pounds, Cook was a physical player who played a physical brand of basketball for a Big Ten school but never really developed a three-point shot. It’s very possible that Cook will never play more than the two non-essential games he had in a Nuggets uniform; however, let’s dive in and see what Cook was able to do in his limited time.
Tyler Cook Regular Season/Playoff stats
Two games played, 19 total minutes, four points, four rebounds, one unfathomable lineup
Initially, the Nuggets signed Cook to a two-way contract during the summer, and the assumption was that Cook would be on Denver’s roster while spending most of his time developing in the G League. In training camp though, PJ Dozier earned the spot on Denver’s roster (the other two-way spot was reserved for Bol Bol) and the Nuggets decided to go forward with Dozier instead of Cook.
That left Cook to fend for himself. He signed a two-way contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers and spent much of the 2019-20 season bouncing between the Cavs and the Canton Charge G League affiliate. When the Cavs ultimately let him go in January/early February, Cook was left without an NBA team for awhile.
Then, the bubble happened. The Nuggets decided to convert Dozier’s two-way contract to a full contract, opening up a two-way spot that the Nuggets filled with Cook once again. Heading into the bubble, with only eight healthy players and mostly bigs, Cook filled some rotation time on the wing before Torrey Craig, Michael Porter Jr., and ultimately Gary Harris returned to the rotation.
Cook played a bit of garbage time after that but didn’t really make an impact in his time on the floor.
Season Grade: Incomplete
It’s difficult to evaluate someone that saw so little time on the floor. When he was out there, Cook provided energy and rebounding, but with his game appearing to be as limited as it was, his role was very narrow. He only played 19 minutes of actual time with the Nuggets, and close to 17 of those came in the final regular season game of the bubble in which players were just looking to avoid getting hurt.
Season Highlight: The five bigs lineup in the bubble scrimmages
This lineup captured the imagination of NBA fans everywhere. When the Nuggets decided to start Nikola Jokić at point guard and Bol Bol at small forward, the internet nearly broke. It was a fun, more innocent time.
Cook played a lot during those scrimmages, basically subbing in for Jerami Grant at shooting guard while he was out there. Cook playing that position at 6’8, 255 was interesting to watch, and while he wasn’t the main component of those groups, he was at least part of it. That’s something I will remember for awhile.
What’s next for Cook
Cook is now a restricted free agent for the Nuggets because he finished the season on a two-way deal. He definitely won’t be Denver’s first priority in free agency, and it’s possible the Nuggets decide to go in a different direction after a limited sample size from Cook.
The prerogative is on Cook to prove during this offseason that he can contribute to an NBA team. Being in the gym, developing his outside jumper, improving his perimeter mobility on defense, and finding some chemistry with Denver’s rotation members should be a priority for him.
If he doesn’t show those things, he and the Nuggets will likely part ways this offseason.