Denver- The Nuggets have been in a groove recently; in fact, since the beginning of March, the Nuggets have a record of 6-2 and hold a two and a half game lead for the final playoff spot out west. Many players have stepped up, whether it be rookies Juancho Hernangomez and Jamal Murray, or wily vets such as Danilo Gallinari and Jameer Nelson. While the Nuggets are receiving major contributions from the class of the 2016 draft, one young gun finds himself in Michael Malone’s doghouse: Emmanuel Mudiay.
Struggling to step foot on the court, Mudiay has five DNP coach’s decision and has logged just 29 minutes in that eight game stretch. Poor performance, along with injuries have dwindled the second year guard’s opportunity to find his way into the rotation. Mudiay is shooting just 37 percent from the field this season, while his assists-per-turnover has gone from 1.71 to 1.68. Not only has he struggled offensively, but his defense has suffered as well. According to Hoops Hype, from beyond six feet, opponents improve their field goal percentage by 19.6 percent when being guarded by Mudiay. With Emmanuel Mudiay on the court this season, they have a -6.7 net rating. When he has been on the bench, the Nuggets net rating climbs to +2.6.
In turn, Jameer Nelson has been implemented into the starting lineup. Since the All-Star Break, with Nelson starting, the Nuggets have amassed a record of 8-4. In comparison to Mudiay’s 37 percent shooting, Jameer Nelson is shooting 44.9 percent from the field. With such a young roster, Nelson’s leadership cannot go unnoticed. In place of Mudiay, rookie guard Jamal Murray has been seeing most, if not all of the backup point guard minutes.
With both Nelson and Murray producing, and the recent success of the Nuggets, it does not look like Mudiay will be able to crack the rotation for the remainder of this season. Being just 21 and in his second season, it is hard to say that Mudiay is done in Denver. Until he shows signs of improvements, get used to seeing the mystery guard from the Congo playing in garbage time.