The rookie big is healthy and back on the Nuggets bench.
News broke early Wednesday that Jarred Vanderbilt has been recalled from the NBA G-League and will be available to play against the Brooklyn Nets. On the surface, an unproven rookie second-round pick shouldn’t generate too much excitement but Vanderbilt brings something the Nuggets sorely need right now:
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If his brief debut was any indication, we’re going to love Vanderbilt’s contribution, think of him as Faried with a much more polished offensive game. He can also play defense.
We’ve heard comparisons to Dennis Rodman, we’ve also heard comparisons to Stacey Augmon. Both profiles would fit this Nuggets team nicely, address areas of deficiency and not disrupt an already established team camaraderie. Vanderbilt’s arrival is like getting him in a trade without sacrificing anything. An infusion of energy and defense from a guy that graded out as a high first-round talent may be just the thing Denver needs to carry them through the dog days leading to the break.
The Nuggets are set at 5 with Jokic and Mason Plumlee, they’ve been a little less solid at the power forward with Paul Millsap doing well but mired in an extended scoring slump. There have been signs of life from Trey Lyles but there’s going to need to be much more consistency before we trust that Lyles is “back”. His 20 points and lights-out shooting versus Detroit were good to see, hopefully he can build on that. Vanderbilt has a nice cushion and the time to develop his presence over the rest of the season. That is assuming his foot injuries are behind him, of course.
Another impending injury return could have an enormous impact on the Nuggets: