If you’re not familiar with Film Fridays, each Friday, I’ll be looking at some recent Denver Nuggets’ games, lineups or something else from a film aspect to try and bring you a piece of content that you’re not getting somewhere else. Feel free to give any feedback positive or negative in the comments or find me on Twitter.
With the 26th pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, the Denver Nuggets select… Nah’Shon Hyland, guard, Virginia Commonwealth University. First off, welcome to the big leagues Mr. Hyland. The Nuggets drafted Hyland to add some scoring punch and a little bit of swagger to their roster. Hyland comes into the league with one of the better nicknames already attached in the form of his “Bones” nickname that he earned due to his long and slender build.
At 6’3.5” and 169 pounds, with an 81.25” wingspan, Hyland comes at his opponents with a ton of length in a not-so-dense frame. Those long arms helped him to get in passing lanes in college, and he’ll be looking to maintain that skill at the next level. He will need to put some more size on that frame though for when he gets matched up with bigger players on the offensive end.
Hyland averaged 19.5 points per game during his sophomore season at VCU which was nearly double his next best teammate in terms of points per game. His team largely went as he did. In their wins, he shot 38.6 percent from 3-point range compared to 31.7 percent in their losses. In their wins, he was 47.2 percent from the field compared to 37.2 percent in losses. When this guy is shooting well, his team is going to good places.
A Walking Bucket
If you’ve ever watched basketball, you’ve heard the phrase “A Walking Bucket.” That fits Hyland to a T. He has absolutely no fear when it comes to getting his own shot, and he will pull up from anywhere on the floor at any given time. Take a look at this play. He catches the ball about eight feet back from the 3-point line with over 20 seconds still on the shot clock. He uses the screen to get a little separation from his defender, and things get scary for the defense after that. He has the chance to drive on the big that switched onto him. Instead, he stops on a dime and rises up for the stepback triple with the defender closing out on him. There is no fear here.
Just a 3-point shooter? Not a chance. Hyland has a bag of tricks to get to the rim, and he loves to get the chance to show them off. Hyland catches the ball beyond the 3-point line on the right wing, and he gets bumped right away by the defender. He gathers his dribble and starts to size up the defender. He sets him up with a couple of back-and-forth dribbles before going hard to his right. Once the defender flips his hips, Hyland pulls his dribble back and drives to the rim before finishing over the defender. Having a guy that can get you a bucket from anywhere at any time is a huge boost to the offense.
Those Arms Are LONG
Hyland isn’t the biggest guy at only 169 pounds. He has decent height at over 6’3,” but it’s his wingspan that really makes a huge difference for him on the defensive end of the floor. His wingspan is 6’9.25.” They don’t make guards with arms that long. Those are the arms you see on your 6’8” small forward. On this play, Hyland is matched up with Sean McNeil. McNeil shot 38.8 percent from 3-point range this season, so Hyland has to stay close to him. McNeil gets a nice stepback move going to his left and gets separation from Hyland, but Bones uses those long arms to get a great contest on the shot and force a higher arc on the release and ultimately a miss. Even if he doesn’t get a block, his length allows him to alter shots unlike most other guards at his height.
Hyland has a knack for getting in passing lanes, and he knows how to turn that into offense going the other way. He is helping off of his man because he knows he can get out there to contest a possible shot. When the ball-handler drives into the paint, Hyland starts to hedge in before reaching out and snatching the ball with just one hand. With his ability to handle the ball, he can quickly start pushing it the other direction without waiting around for someone else to bring the ball up.
Work on Creating for Others
Hyland is not a natural creator. He’s a scorer. He knows how to put the ball in the basket. He did struggle with turnovers last year, as he averaged 3.1 turnovers per game. In the NBA, he’ll need to clean that up, and he needs to show a better ability at setting up his teammates. On this play, he’s driving to the basket and, in college, he’s attempting this shot despite being surrounded by defenders. Instead, he rises up and hits his teammate with a pass for the easy layup. Even if he can just make this small adjustment at the next level, he’s instantly a better player to have on the floor.
While the play before this one is an example of what he needs to do, this play is an example of what not to do. Hyland gets past his defender with ease as he did all year long. He gets to the rim with two defenders in front of him which means somewhere there is at least one man not being guarded. His teammate is in the corner wide-open for a 3-point look, and Hyland never even looks at him. In the big leagues, he just can’t do that because, if you don’t get the offensive rebound, it’s effectively a turnover.
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