Quote by Nba preview – rookie & sophomore (Northwest)
Sophomore: Emmanuel Mudiay, Nikola Jokic
Rookie: Malik Beasley, Jamal Murray, Juan Hernangomez
Mudiay‘s season had a terrible start but he improved his game and was under-the-radar good by the end of the year. Up until December, he was everything that could be expected from a rookie that could not shoot playing the most technical position in the league and the one that has more talent throughout the league. From January onward, his performances did improve, raising his offensive rating by 18 points from November (80) to March (98) while posting a not-awful 47.9% True Shooting percentage in March. Not the kind of numbers that will win games, but the growth should at least be a good sign. His defense went south during this offensive growth, but only a few rookies can be effective on both sides on the court in their first year. Mudiay is on a very young team and has all the time in the world to grow into the player he can be.
Gary Harris injury will keep him off the court for about two months, leaving the window opened for both Malik Beasley and Jamal Murray, who will be part of the rotation from the very start. Some did argue that Murray should be the starting PG for the team, but that is unlikely to happen right away, not when judgments are based on Summer League and preseason. Also, Murray started the season as PG at Kentucky but was moved to shooting guard because he was more effective off the ball and Tyler Ulis was a better playmaker.
Nikola Jokic was the third best rookie last season behind only Karl-Anthony Towns and Kristaps Porzingis. The team was much better with him on the floor, based on any kind of statistics, basic or advanced, individual or team wise. The team was terrible in the minutes Jokic shared with Nurkic, but while spacing was an issue, that was also a matter of inefficiency of the team’s perimeter players. Jokic is still a huge talent with tons of untapped potential and, if he will repeat himself in his sophomore season, the Nuggets have a future All-Star around which they can build.
Juan Hernangomez was chosen because of his stretch-four potential and his rebounding instincts. The adjustment period and the logjam at the power-forward spot will not allow him to translate to the Nba his 34.2% three-point shooting which, average as it is, would still help the Nuggets space the floor.