This week has been a bit frenetic for the Denver Nuggets as they attempt to get into the Summer League swing of things. First, they announced their expected Summer League roster on August 2nd, with new first round draftpick Bones Hyland scheduled to make his first appearance in a Denver uniform and wearing the Millsap-Memorial #4 (ed. note: since the Nuggets release refers to him as Bones, we at Denver Stiffs will call him Bones the way Champ Bailey of the Denver Broncos was just Champ and not “Champ”).
But of course in the Covid era, nothing is that simple. Shortly after the roster dropped, the first day of practice was cancelled due to health and safely protocols, then the second, and then this notice dropped that practices were delayed until further notice.
The Nuggets have delayed their Summer League mini-camp due to health and safety protocols. NBA Summer League begins on Sunday in Vegas. pic.twitter.com/BkuJv9F2Km— Katy Winge (@katywinge) August 4, 2021
There have been no further updates on the health and safety protocols, so there is no way to know whether anyone has been ruled out for Game 1 Sunday night (8 PM MT on NBATV). However, the Nuggets did just add two more players to their list this afternoon in Jimmer Fredette, the BYU guard who has been playing in China, and Davon Reed, the ex-Hurricane who has put in time in the G League and in Taiwan.
No players previously announced have been removed from the updated list on the first link, but since both players added were guards they may just be covering their bases. Denver has run Summer League squads with very few guards before, but it’s not ideal to getting everyone to perform at their best.
In addition to current Nuggets Hyland, Bol Bol and Zeke Nnaji, the list includes several interesting options:
- Guard Markus Howard, who was with Denver last year on a two-way contract
- Guard/Forward Caleb Agada, who has looked brilliant at times for the Nigerian Olympic team and is probably the clubhouse leader for at least a two-way contract heading into Summer League
- Guard Deonte Burton, who logged time in Korea before latching on with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
- Forward Matur Maker, who has had some G League experience already and whose brother Thon was a first round pick in 2016
- Forward Chudier Bile, who went from Northwestern State to Georgetown as an energy guy
- Forward Giorgi Bezhanishvili, who probably has a long career ahead of him in Europe if he wants it but will first try to make an NBA squad as another energy hustle forward with upside
- Guard Arnas Velička, a Lithuanian combo guard who has the traditional knock of European-level athleticism but also has decent size and quite an interesting offensive skillset for playing both guard positions
I’m sure some other dark horses will step forward as well. Some practices before playing together on the court would be nice, but even if that doesn’t happen for the Nuggets, they’ve assembled a team that should play hard and for the most part shoot well (or in the case of Denver’s guards Fredette, Hyland and Howard, REALLY well) which should make these Summer League games a lot of fun - assuming there are no more health and safety issues.
The current full roster is pictured below!