Time to stack positive performances
The Denver Nuggets and the Los Angeles Clippers will face off for Denver’s third Summer League contest. On Sunday, the Nuggets captured their first win of the summer season by defeating the Cavaliers 84-76.
As expected, there have been some timid moments from Denver’s young players, but all of their 2022 draft selections have flashed several moments of potential. Peyton Watson shined against Cleveland as he scored 19 points, 7 rebounds, 2 steals, and a block on 8-12 shooting from the field. Although Denver’s first selection Christian Braun struggled in his second game, he appeared to look as comfortable as any in his first action against the Timberwolves. Ismael Kamagate has displayed his potential as an effective shot-blocker and mobile big, while Collin Gillespie’s play draws flashbacks of recent fan-favorite Monte Morris.
These flickers of potential are quite the exciting notion, but consistency is the true barometer of success. Denver will look to build on that foundation tonight against the Clippers.
Who: Denver Nuggets vs Los Angeles Clippers
When: 8:00 PM MST
Where: Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, Nevada
How to Watch: ESPN3
Rival Blog: Clips Nation
Projected Starting Lineups:
Clippers — Jason Preston, Jay Scrubb, Brandon Boston Jr., Jarrell Brantley, Moussa Diabate
Nuggets — Collin Gillespie, Christian Braun, Peyton Watson, Matt Mitchell, Ismael Kamagate
Three Things to Watch
What will Peyton Watson’s encore look like?
The athletic rookie provided many Nuggets fans with the reason Denver’s front office selected him in the first round of this year’s draft. After a hesitant showing in his first game, he appeared to return to the instincts that got him selected in the first round. He found openings in the half-court to cut towards the rim, he flashed potential as a playmaker with his passing ability, his rebounding was a welcome sight, but most of all his inside scoring and defensive ability revealed themselves.
— Swish Cultures (@swishcultures_) July 11, 2022
At 19 years of age, he is far from reaching his full potential, so tonight will be a great test of consistency. He needs to cut down on the turnovers and remain focused on defensive assignments and rotations. He looked comfortable in the paint, so it will be interesting to see if that remains a comfort zone tonight and if we can witness comfort in the defensive system.
Will we see a Christian Braun bounceback performance?
Braun looked to be the most comfortable player on the floor in his debut, but he learned the professional game was not as seamless as it may have appeared. Against the Cavaliers, he shot 4-18 and a disappointing 2-7 from the free-throw line. Furthermore, he has shot 1-15 on three-point attempts during Summer League play, so tonight provides a great challenge in his confidence from deep.
Christian Braun and Collin Gillespie raining 3s at the end of practice. pic.twitter.com/EmLQLZtcrz
— Mike Singer (@msinger) July 5, 2022
He has displayed great talent in transition and his gritty, dirty work mentality is a welcome sight for the Nuggets faithful. He also provided Denver with fantastic defensive work on some possessions, which will be a key for him if he expects to be in the rotation next year. We expect a return to form from him tonight, but it is imperative he does not lose his intensity and fearlessness tonight and from now on.
Can the Nuggets find their perimeter shooting stroke?
The Nuggets have failed to eclipse double-digit three-point makes in any of their first two games. Personally, I enjoy seeing them focus their energy on the interior, but as we know, the three-point arc is essential in today’s game. Overall, the Nuggets have shot 15-60 (25%) from three-point range, which is not a concern just yet, but if it persists it will have to be a major area of focus.
With that being said, the Nuggets have displayed great ball movement at times. They have recorded 20 assists in each game, which means the open shots are there but are not being knocked down just yet. Let’s see if Denver can put it all together tonight.