After losing to the Minnesota Timberwolves 85-78 in their first summer league game on Friday night, the Denver Nuggets will look to pick up their first victory of the tournament tonight against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Even though the Nuggets lost their summer league opener, there were certainly some positives to take away from their first game. One of those was the play of first round pick Christian Braun, who looked like a player primed to compete for a rotation spot for the Nuggets as early as next season.
We also saw the raw potential from Peyton Watson on both ends of the floor, as well as the tools that made the Nuggets trade back into the second round to select big man Ismael Kamagate. Hopefully we see another solid showing from the Nuggets rookies tonight in their second game.
Who: Denver Nuggets vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
When: 5:00 PM MST
Where: Cox Pavilion, Las Vegas, Nevada
How to Watch: ESPNU
Rival Blog: Fear The Sword
Projected Starting Lineups:
Cavaliers — Amar Sylla, RJ Nembhard, Isaiah Mobley, Ochai Agbaji, Luke Travers
Nuggets — Collin Gillespie, Christian Braun, Peyton Watson, Matt Mitchell, Ismael Kamagate
Three Things to Watch
How does Christian Braun look in his second game?
It was a really solid showing for Braun in the Nuggets first summer league game as he showcased a lot of what made him such a great player during his time at Kansas. Braun played calm and controlled on the offensive end of the floor and found a way to make a constant impact defensively as well.
Braun showed off his hops numerous times, but no one bucket was more exciting than this put-back dunk:
Braun shot 8-of-17 from the field and was just 1-of-7 from three, which is a number you would like to see go up in the Nuggets second game. Still, it was nice to see how aggressive Braun was and if a couple more shots fall he’ll really have a chance to heat up.
Another solid game from Braun could also mean his summer league comes to a close a little early as the Nuggets may have seen all they need to see. Braun certainly looked like a player that could contribute in year one after just one game and another performance like that could put an end to his summer league earlier than expected.
Will Peyton Watson look more comfortable in his second game?
It was a tough first game for the Nuggets second first round pick as he struggled at times on both ends of the court. Watson had six turnovers and shot just 4-of-13 from the field, 0-of-4 from three and looked out of sorts at times.
Christian Braun to Peyton Watson for the slam— NBA TV (@NBATV) July 9, 2022
The Nuggets 1st rounders make it a one-point game! pic.twitter.com/3jS8TSh56p
Watson seemed to be doing to much in his first game and if he can just slow down and let the game come to him chances are he’s going to be more successful. There were definitely flashes of what made Watson a first round pick and with more professional experience will hopefully come more comfortability in his game.
Can anyone take the lead for the Nuggets second two-way spot?
No body pulled away in the race for the Nuggets second two-way spot after game one and this remains a massive storyline to watch as Denver continues play in Vegas. Matt Mitchell drew the start in game one and poured in 11 points, but even that didn't really separate him from anyone else on the Nuggets roster.
Kellan Grady and Adonis Arms — along with Mitchell — feel like the most likely candidates for the second two-way spot, that is if the Nuggets pick someone off their summer league roster. Jontay Porter is a dark horse candidate and did start for the Nuggets in the first game, but played just 14 minutes and you have to worry about the injury history there.