After picking up Zeke Nnaji’s fourth year team option, the Denver Nuggets continued their bookkeeping by also picking up Bones Hyland’s third year team option according to a source. Now, the Nuggets will only have four potential free agents heading into next season.
Mike Singer of the Denver Post was first on the report.
Few players have impressed the Nuggets front office, coaching staff, and his fellow teammates like Hyland has. He has been in Denver for a lot of the offseason and has spent seemingly every waking minute either working on his game, building up his body or taking his dog Tressi into local Denver neighborhoods to connect with the community. During many of the games played at the Nuggets’ facilities, Hyland has been the brightest star on the court.
Hyland’s growth over his rookie year gave the Nuggets’ brass the confidence needed to trade away Monte Morris and Will Barton III to the Washington Wizards for a three-point shooting point-of-attack defender in Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to bolster their horrid perimeter defense from last season.
Hyland is entering the 2022-23 season with a much larger portion of responsibility on his shoulders. He is taking over the full-time backup point guard duties and is really the only true creator off the Nuggets bench. His explosive scoring potential, burgeoning playmaking skills and unhinged enthusiasm will be cornerstones of the Nuggets bench unit this year, but that is a lot of pressure for most second-year guards who are still learning where they fit at the NBA level. Throughout the offseason — as well as his impact during his rookie season — Hyland has consistently proven himself worthy of the expectations being placed on him. Hyland has been coachable and willing to take constrictive criticism which has expedited his learning curve.
Now that Hyland and Nnaji will be in Denver next season, Denver only has four possible free agents after this season: Bruce Brown who has a player option as well as Ish Smith, Jeff Green and DeAndre Jordan who will all be unrestricted free agents. Their roster is largely set in stone for the next couple years barring a dramatic trade with both Hyland and Nnaji situated to be long-term pieces of the Nuggets roster.
Hyland played 69 games in his rookie season and averaged 10.1 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 19 minutes per game. He shot 40.3% from the field and 36.6% from three-point range on what were difficult and necessary shots more often than not. His comfort in big games, seemingly limitless range as a shooter, and passion for the game allowed Hyland to thrive from the moment he first step on the court. Now, he will need to find a way to harness that excitement and fine-tune his skills to be the guard Denver needs him to be as they enter the 2022-23 season with aspirations of being NBA Champions when the season is all said and done.