Emmanuel Mudiay: Denver Nuggets’ Future Star?


The Denver Nuggets selected Emmanuel Mudiay with the seventh pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, making him the second point guard taken in the draft.

Emmanuel Mudiay, born in Kinshasa, Zaire, did not begin playing basketball until arriving in the United States. After picking up the ball for the first time in middle school, Mudiay never looked back and blossomed into one of the best prospects in the country. As a freshman in high school, Mudiay attended Grace Preparatory Academy where he played alongside future Baylor University center Isaiah Austin. In his freshman season, Mudiay went on to lead Grace Prep to the 4-A title.

After winning the 4-A title with Grace Prep, Mudiay decided to transfer to the notorious Prime Preparatory Academy in Dallas. Prime Prep, known for several infractions with top-name prospects, excelled with Emmanuel Mudiay as their point guard. After dominating at the helm of Prime Prep, Mudiay jumped to the top of recruiting ratings. Rivals.com rated Mudiay as the second-best recruit for the 2014 class. Mudiay received numerous scholarships around the nation, most notably from: Kansas, Kentucky, Arizona, Baylor, and SMU.

With Larry Brown heading the coaching staff at SMU, Emmanuel Mudiay decided to commit to the Mustangs; however, in the following summer before being admitted to the university, Mudiay decided to forgo the college experience and play professionally overseas. Mudiay took a page out of Brandon Jennings‘ book by skipping college to immediately play professionally, a trend we may see increase in future seasons. In the summer of 2014, Emmanuel Mudiay signed with Guangdong Southern Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association. 

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Emmanuel Mudiay signed a one-year deal with Guangdong; however, his career in China took a stumble when he suffered a pretty significant injury that kept him out of competition from December to March. Mudiay returned for the semi-final tilt against the Beijing Ducks, but in a best-of-five series, the Ducks eliminated Mudiay and Tigers from the playoffs. Mudiay played 10 games in his first professional season, averaging 18 points, 6.3 rebounds, 5.9 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. With a strong showing in China, albeit a small sample size, Mudiay entered the 2015 NBA Draft as one of the most coveted players.

Mudiay’s draft stock ranged from the first overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft to the 10th pick. The Los Angeles Lakers looked destined to pick the 6′ 5” point guard, but they passed on Emmanuel Mudiay and picked DeAngelo Russell, out of Ohio State University, instead. The Denver Nuggets got their man when Mudiay remained on the board at number seven in the draft. The Nuggets selected Mudiay with the seventh pick, and he assumed the starting role immediately after the team signed him in the summer.

This past summer, Emmanuel Mudiay played in the Las Vegas Summer League, and he was named to the All-NBA Summer League second team, despite only playing in four games. Mudiay averaged 12 points, 3.5 rebounds, 5.8 assists, and 1.3 steals per game in the Las Vegas Summer League. Mudiay possesses great size at the point guard position, and he is a nightmare to guard on the court. His big frame and reach allow him to post solid rebounding and steal statistics for a point guard.

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  • Due to his strong showing during the summer, the Denver Nuggets started Emmanuel Mudiay at point guard to open the season. Through the first five games of the 2015-2016 season, Mudiay registered 11.6 points, 5.8 assists, 4.0 rebounds, and 0.8 steals per game. While those numbers are nice for a 19 year old rookie, we must take the good with the bad. Despite scoring 11.6 points per game, Mudiay’s field goal percentage looks bad, hitting just over 30 percent of his shots from the field. Also, Mudiay struggles with turnovers in the early-going, averaging 5.6 turnover per game thus far.

    As Emmanuel Mudiay gains invaluable NBA experience, expect his field goal percentage and turnover rate to trend in the right direction. Mudiay was recently in the media because Lakers’ coach Byron Scott said he did not believe Mudiay to be a true point guard, and that was the reason the Lakers passed on him. However, Mudiay quieted Scott’s remarks by dropping the first double-double of his career (12 points, 10 assists) in a win on the road against the Lakers. Expect more great things from the young phenom in his first season in the NBA. The Nuggets may have drafted the best player in the draft with the seventh pick. Only time will tell.