NBA

Two-way tangle; Has anyone on the Nuggets Summer League squad split from the pack?

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The Denver Nuggets roster is essentially complete.

Denver has all 15 full-time positions filled, and Collin Gillespie has been signed to one of Denver’s two-way contract slots.

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Signing Gillespie – the five-year-old Villanova point guard who many compared to former Nuggets point guard Monte Morris – to a two-way contract was something the Nuggets front office had been hoping to happen. They had identified Gillespie as the perfect “break in an emergency” type playmaker. As the second round of the NBA Draft continued to wind down, Denver’s hopes of signing Gillespie grew. After the draft, Gillespie was left without a team, but it took almost no time for the Nuggets and Gillespie to agree on a two-way deal.

Even with the inclusion of Gillespie in a two-way contract, there is still work to be done for general manager Calvin Booth and his team; i.e. if they choose to: fill in the last place of the two-way list.

The Nuggets’ plan was to enter the Las Vegas Summer League with a handful of players competing for the job. Now, with three Summer League matches on the books, it’s a good time to take a look at the state of the race.

Heading into the Summer League, the general consensus was that Matt Mitchell and Adonis Arms started the race in the top two positions while Kellan Grady and Jack White rounded out the roster.

Not much has changed since that initial thought process for the Nuggets, so let’s take a closer look at each candidate.

Matt Mitchell

Mitchell — the six-foot-six, 235-pound forward from San Diego State — has done as well as any of the Nuggets’ two-way contract candidates in Las Vegas. His most notable performance was his last time on the court when he helped the Nuggets win over the Clippers by posting 17 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals in 26 minutes of 5-10 shooting action. three points. .

Mitchell defended well from multiple positions, scored effectively around the rim from beyond the three-point arc, and started every game for the Nuggets Summer League side as a combo forward alongside Peyton Watson. His resume has only gone from strength to strength through the first three games of the Summer League and that will earn him significant playing time in Denver’s Game 4 as well as every other game the Nuggets qualify for.

There are still concerns over his brilliance and athleticism as a combo striker and his ball handling is still rudimentary, but to see him shoot well is encouraging and his defensive versatility has been on full display. It would be a stretch to say it’s his two-way deal up for grabs, but Mitchell seems to be in the lead based on what happened in Vegas; as long as the Nuggets choose to sign someone in that last two-way spot, of course.

Weapons of Adonis

Adonis Arms leads Summer League is the best name as well as the greatest energy exerted.

No one can knock his hustle on the pitch. Weapons sprint all the time and sell where needed, when needed. The only problem is that his energy is his biggest weapon and biggest weakness right now.

Arms can jump out of the gym and move incredibly well. Pairing that with a great motor and his six-foot-five frame gives him a huge advantage as a defender. Wingers his size who can defend multiple positions are exactly the type of players Denver could use as the last two-way contract player. Davon Reed, who just signed a full-time, two-year NBA contract with the Nuggets, served in that role last season. Yet that energy can manifest itself in bad turnovers or bad shot selection or just generally reckless mistakes.

Can Arms reduce the issues of playing too recklessly and harness his energy in the last two games to show his defensive and defensive impact? If so, he could see his chances of landing Denver’s last two-way contract spot rise quickly.

Jack White

No one on the Nuggets’ Summer League roster has seen their stock rise as much as Jack White, who grabbed 15 rebounds against the Cavaliers in Game 2 of the Summer League, has eight steals so far. + blocks in Vegas and shot 11-16 from the field in three games.

White is six-foot-seven and strong while possessing a nice jump shot, strong nose for rebounds and advanced basketball IQ. It’s hard not to see him staying in the NBA as a bench connector who can play as a guard, wing or big. He has many similarities to Vlatko Cancar, who is already on the Nuggets roster.

It feels like White hasn’t made a mistake the entire Summer League and has adapted to every role that has been asked of him. If the Nuggets had chosen to give the final two-way contract to White, he would have earned the role. Still, his perk isn’t very high and his skills are somewhat redundant on the list. Adding Arms’ athleticism or Mitchell’s versatility seems more logical, but White’s name is on the list of real contenders for the final spot either way based on his play. If he doesn’t stay with Denver , I wouldn’t be surprised if another team tries to lock him into one of their available two-way contracts if his solid play continues. There’s no denying that White has skills that NBA teams like to have on the end of their bench.

Kellan Grady

Kellan Grady was quietly valued in the Nuggets front office entering the Summer League, but he was unable to show off his skills as a six-foot-three guard who can thrive on offense and defense.

His three-point shooting wasn’t effective in Las Vegas – which most of his teammates were, to be fair – and he didn’t get a chance to play with the ball very often in the hands. He was part of Nuggets Summer League head coach Ryan Bowen’s rotation every game but just didn’t make his presence felt.

Defensively, he made his weight and more. Denver’s reserves stifled the defense and Grady certainly deserves credit for contributing to that result.

Grady is likely still on the roster for the final two-way contract and, if he’s not so lucky, maybe the Nuggets’ interest in him will put him on the Grand Rapids Gold roster or on the roster. from Nuggets training camp. Either way, he didn’t stand out and that only hurts his chances. He needs to have a good finish in Vegas to propel himself alongside Mitchell, Arms and White.

Conclusion

It looks like Matt Mitchell has the best chance of winning this latest two-way deal while Adonis Arms and Jack White sit right behind him with Kellan Grady rounding out all four possibilities.

Even that being said, there’s a chance the Nuggets will look elsewhere to fulfill their last two-way contract or leave it vacant for the time being if they feel none of the available options are worth committing to.

The Nuggets will have another Summer League game Friday at 4 p.m. against Philadelphia before the playoffs begin. It will be up to these four candidates to win if they hope to land the ultimate two-way contract.

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