The Denver Nuggets didn’t draft Emmanuel Mudiay to sit the bench. It’s likely the team will look to trade point guard Raymond Felton at some point before the NBA Trade Deadline to get Mudiay into the starters role.
But, judging by the rookies Summer League showing so far, Denver might want to make a trade sooner than expected. Mudiay’s road to the NBA has been well documented. Instead of playing for Larry Brown at SMU, Mudiay decided to play overseas basketball in China. It’s a path that was taken by current Detroit Pistons guard, Brandon Jennings, who is one of the league’s premier scoring guards.
It’s unclear how much the year away from American basketball will affect Mudiay, but if it is anything like Jennings, we might be looking at basketball’s next All-Star point guard. So far, the results have been promising. During the rookies first two Summer League games he amassed 14 assists. He has shown incredible court vision, a trait he picked up during his time away from American basketball.
“I learned so much in China,” Mudiay told SI.com. “Just slowing the game down, seeing where everybody’s at, knowing where everybody’s at. That just really helped me.”
It’s likely that had Mudiay played college basketball for SMU he would have been the nation’s best collegiate player, and almost assuredly would have been a top-three selection. Instead, he has taken on the role of NBA mystery man, but so far the only mystery is as to why six other teams passed on him. Denver Nuggets coach, Mike Malone, isn’t going to complain about the selection of Mudiay.
In fact, he had some very encouraging remarks about the 19-year-old.
“My first impression is he seems so much older and more mature. What a great feel for the game, a student of the game.”
The future for the Denver Nuggets is going to depend on the play of its newest superstar. Mudiay has shown during Summer League action that he has game changing ability. Ty Lawson might be the team’s current starter, but his successor is waiting.