Kenneth Faried doesn’t want to hear it — no competitor does — but the reality is this is going to be a bit of a rebuilding campaign in Denver. They are not a playoff bound team, certainly not in the West; rather this is a year to fit in the pieces under new coach Mike Malone and build a foundation.
But when you have a rookie point guard there will be rough patches, and the Nuggets are going to have a rookie point guard — Emmanuel Mudiay.
Faried, for one, wants to see what the kid can bring. That’s what he told rappler.com while over in the Philippines.
“I have high expectations for him because he’s basically going to be our starting point guard and the Nuggets have high expectations,” said Faried, who signed a 4-year, $50 million rookie extension with Denver in October 2014.
“I just want to make sure he’s coached – that’s the only thing I want to make sure. I’m pretty sure he is and everybody says he is so I’m excited to see what happens.”
Mudiay impressed in Las Vegas at Summer League, in part because while all the other rookies were playing frenetic ball, looking like chickens with their heads cut off, Mudiay was patient and under control. He knew how to use his body to create space and draw contact, plus he showed fantastic court vision.
He also looked like a rookie at times and his shooting needs work. Which means it’s going to be a bumpy ride in Denver while he finds his footing in the NBA.
The Nuggets have veterans who can make Mudiay’s life easier — Faried, Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler — but it’s going to take time. Particularly with a new coach and a new system. Nuggets fans, who have already seen some ugly basketball the past few years, are going to get more of it this season. But this time there is some real hope for what could be built.