Denver Nuggets: Young Players Have to Prove Themselves


The Denver Nuggets are starting a makeover, a rebuild. They’ve already shipped out vets, brought in new players, and drafted young guys to form the core of the team. There’s a sense of hope that everything will fall into place.

But the young guys still have to prove themselves. As of right now, they just represent a lot of talent and potential, but they haven’t shown they can be good enough to really carry a team in the NBA. There’s a ton of work to do to get to that point.

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Take Gary Harris, for instance. He’s been good and shown he’s a solid backup, but can he be a starting shooting guard? This is his second year, so it’s hard to tell. If he wants that spot, he has to improve his game even more. He has to show that he’s learned from his rookie year and that he can be a consistent threat.

Or look at Joffrey Lauvergne. He’s been good in the summer league. When there’s nothing but baseball on TV, that’s a good way to get some attention and draw interest. But can he take that to the next level? Will he be good in the NBA? The summer league is not nearly the same caliber of play as the regular season, much less the playoffs.

Of course, there’s also Emmanuel Mudiay, drafted just this year. He was cited as one of the big reasons that losing Ty Lawson wasn’t a huge deal. He’s expected to take Lawson’s minutes and perhaps be even better. Some said the Denver Nuggets were going that way before Lawson’s arrest.

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That’s a lot of pressure on a young player, though. Does he have what it takes to deliver? Can he really be as good as Lawson in his first year, when Lawson had been playing the best basketball of his whole career? Having people looking at him as a natural replacement is probably nice – it does show that he’s respected – but it also means he knows what he has to do. If he struggles, that knowledge could become very heavy on his shoulders.

All told, the Nuggets have potential pieces in place. They have guys who have done it at the lower levels, guys who have flashed a lot of talent. But that alone does not remake the team and win games. They have to prove that they can be the core that the Nuggets need for next year and the future.

Next: Denver Nuggets Win by Moving Ty Lawson