Emmanuel Mudiay Learning on the Fly


Emmanuel Mudiay flashes signs of greatness while on the court, but he struggles in some aspects of his game and is learning on the fly.

The Denver Nuggets selected Emmanuel Mudiay with the seventh pick of the 2015 NBA Draft after he played one season in the Chinese Basketball Association. Emmanuel Mudiay decided to bypass college and play professionally, and his path to the NBA may be an open door for more highly-touted prospects to explore. Before Emmanuel Mudiay suffered an injury while in China, many scouts rated him as the best prospect entering the draft. However, he fell to the Denver Nuggets as the seventh overall pick in the draft and the second point guard taken.

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The Los Angeles Lakers decided to skip out on Emmanuel Mudiay for D’Angelo Russell, because the Lakers felt Emmanuel Mudiay did not fit the point guard mold; however, Mudiay showed the Lakers up by posting his first career double-double against them earlier in the season, outperforming Russell in the process. Emmanuel Mudiay is a front-runner for the Rookie of the Year Award this season, but he needs to improve in some aspects of his game. Currently, Mudiay is among the worst, for rookies, in turnovers and field goal percentage. 

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Emmanuel Mudiay averages over 4.0 turnovers per game against 6.3 assists per game; thus, he needs to trim his turnovers drastically to improve on his assist-to-turnover ratio. By averaging 4.2 turnovers per game, Emmanuel Mudiay presents a shaky ball-handling option at the point guard position for the Denver Nuggets. No one questions Mudiay’s potential, but he gives the ball up too much and finds himself in positions where he does not know what to do with the ball. Against the Clippers, we saw the good and the bad from Emmanuel Mudiay. On one assist, he made a nice behind-the-back play, but on the other hand, he made one turnover by throwing it into the stands.

Emmanuel Mudiay is only 19 years old, so we should expect some growing pains as he adjusts to the speed of the NBA. Also, the Denver Nuggets are only 15 games in the season, so Mudiay has plenty of time to turn his ball-handling around. Another aspect of Emmanuel Mudiay’s game that needs work is his shooting percentage. Currently, his field goal percentage sits at an underwhelming .330, hitting just under one-third of his shots. Moreover, Mudiay struggles from beyond the three-point line, shooting just .278 from three. With Emmanuel Mudiay’s 6′ 5” frame, he could be a force on the offensive side of the ball if he improves on his shooting.

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Last season, Timberwolves SG/SF Andrew Wiggins saw similar struggles from the field, so perhaps, Emmanuel Mudiay is just struggling to find his stroke in his rookie season. Wiggins vastly improved from last year to this season; therefore, there is hope that Mudiay needs to get acclimated to shooting at an NBA-level and speed. Despite Emmanuel Mudiay’s struggles in the turnover and shooting departments, his counting stats look good through the first 15 games of the season. Mudiay averages 12.5 points, 6.3 assists, 3.7 rebounds, 1.1 steals, and 0.9 blocks.

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If Emmanuel Mudiay cuts back on his turnovers, he can easily be in the final discussion for the Rookie of the Year Award; however, Karl-Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor present stiff competition for the Denver Nuggets’ rookie point guard. Emmanuel Mudiay’s current highs for points and assists are 26 and 11, respectively. Also, he accumulated two double-doubles this season through 15 games. Look for Emmanuel Mudiay to continue to develop as the 2015-2016 season progresses. He has a bright future for the Denver Nuggets, and he is close to breaking out in a big way.