The NBA Summer League is where the journey really starts for NBA players. It’s not the first game of the regular season where our favorite NBA stories began – LeBron James, Carmelo Melo, Dwight Howard, James Harden, ALL of the current NBA superstars got their first NBA jersey and first NBA points in Las Vegas for their respective summer league teams, and this year’s Summer League is where the Denver Nuggets begin their playoff chase.
The Nuggets’ young roster means the NBA Summer League will be a blast. It was even fun last year when the Nuggets had Ben Uzoh and Luke Harangody on the roster, even though we knew they had no chance of playing a regular season game in Denver. Basically it’s always a blast watching a bunch of youngsters compete for an NBA chance.
This year, however, the team will be bringing some players that have a lot to do with how the real games will look at Pepsi Center. Bringing a bunch of talented youngsters (I can say that now that I’m 23) to Sin City to get their first professional basketball experience is going to be an absolute blast, and it’ll give us the first glimpse on how talented the 2014-2015 Denver Nuggets will be, especially if we focus on these two story lines.
Quincy Miller‘s Game
Nuggets fans have been waiting to see just what Quincy Miller has to offer ever since head coach Brian Shaw compared Q to Paul George last summer. He only got to play in 52 games last season, and posted an mediocre 4.9 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 0.5 assists per game in 15 minutes. So even after Shaw’s endorsement, we didn’t really get to see “the next Paul George.”
However, Q showed enough flash to keep us excited. In a late season game against Houston Miller exploded for 19 points, six rebounds, and three assists while shooting a scorching 57 percent from the field. Not bad for a guy who is barely old enough to legally buy a drink. Plus, the Nuggets’ small forward was talented enough in high school to be ranked the second best prospect (behind someone by the name of Kevin Durant).
Hopefully this summer will be full of the flashes that had scouts so high on Miller, and it needs to be his summer if he wants to get on the court next season. He’s about to enter his third year in the league. If he’s going to see some playing time behind Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler he’s needs to prove it this summer, and Q knows it.
“It’s exciting because I like competing,” Miller told Nuggets.com. “Summer league is time for me to show what I’ve been working on and I can show I can be a leader.”
One of the best parts of the NBA Summer League is seeing what all these big name rookies can do against professional talent, and that’s especially true with the hyped 2014 draft. We’ll get our first look at Nuggets first round pick Gary Harris, and while we’ll miss out on Jusuf Nurkic because he’s playing with the Bosnian national team, it’ll still be good to see one exciting addition mesh against the pros.
Harris is the only draft pick that we’ll see wearing a Nuggets jersey, but the Nuggets’ summer league roster has no shortage of rookies. The roster has 12 rookies on the including last years pick Erick Green and former Colorado star Carlon Brown. The summer league presents ample opportunity for each of these guys to get on the floor, and with each of them fighting for their playing lives it’s always great competition. How cool would it be if Brown can earn an NBA spot in front of fans that remember his days at Colorado?
The NBA Summer League won’t ever prove a player is a superstar. That requires years of hard work and lots of regular season games for any player. This summer the is a chance for the Nuggets’ prospects to establish their NBA worth, and a chance for their rookies to show how the rest of the NBA messed up by passing up on them in the draft.