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Can Nah’Shon Hyland make an impact as a rookie?

Nah’Shon Hyland 2020-21 per game statistics

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Season Games Minutes Points Rebounds Assists FG% 3P% TS%
Season Games Minutes Points Rebounds Assists FG% 3P% TS%
Regular Season 21 31.8 19.2 4.4 2.0 43.8% 36.2% 60.0%
Tourney 3 32.7 21.0 7.0 3.0 46.4% 25.4% 61.6%

Overview

Rookie Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland is ready for his big-league moment. After starring for two years at VCU, Hyland has already flashed during the NBA preseason his potential to perform at the next level. He’s a natural scorer and shot creator, and he was showing off his ability to create shots for others as well.

Now, he finds himself on a Denver Nuggets’ roster that is looking to compete for an NBA title right now. There’s no maybe about it. They’ve pushed their chips into the center of the table, and Hyland is one of them. He gives them some athleticism at the guard position that they didn’t really have before, and, considering how rarely Michael Malone has relied on young players, Bones could be changing that tune.

Best Case

Simply put, the best-case scenario for Hyland is that he’s able to break into the rotation early on and maintain that momentum throughout the year. Malone has often had a short leash for rookies throughout his time with Denver, and that’s unlikely to change this year with the team contending for a title. So, it will be up to Bones to keep his play consistently elevated.

Bones brings a scoring pop to the second unit that the team lacked last season, and he can also create shots for others. Unless he makes some unforeseen leap, he’ll be locked into the second unit for the majority of the year, and that’s ok because his skills are needed on that unit.

Worst Case

The worst-case scenario for Hyland is just as straightforward as the best-case scenario. The worst thing that can happen for Hyland this season is that he finds his way into the Malone doghouse early in the year and never finds his way out. Teammate Michael Porter Jr. did that during his first full season, and he struggled all year with consistent minutes.

Hyland should be this team’s fourth or fifth guard in the rotation, including the starters, but, with how deep this team’s guard rotation is, he doesn’t have much margin for error. Hyland needs to remember to always keep his teammates engaged rather than only hunting his own shot, and he needs to catch up quickly on the defensive end. If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Malone, it’s that he won’t stand for mistakes on defense.

Bold Prediction

Hyland clears 30 points at least once this year. Now, I know this is an absolutely wild bold prediction, but, isn’t that the whole point of making it? Bones is a microwave scorer, and there were times in college when he would get white-hot and just scorch nets. The main key for this bold prediction coming through would rely on the play and health of his teammates, but I still think Bones can find at least one game where just everything is falling and Malone rides the hot hand.

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