The Denver Nuggets first ever two-way contract was awarded to Torrey Craig after his performance in Summer League. He took some time to chat with DID during media day.
Torrey Craig was the first ever Denver Nugget to sign a two-way contract. The two-way contract is new to the NBA this season and expands NBA rosters from 15 players to 17. Craig will spend most of the season in the G-League, but is given 45 days of NBA service time to spend with the Nuggets.
This will be Craig’s first season in the NBA after playing the last three seasons in Australia and New Zealand. He went undrafted in 2014 out of the University of South Carolina Upstate. Craig may be one of the Nuggets best defensive players on the roster and is an under the radar guy to watch during training camp and the preseason.
DID: How big was summer league for you? Can you talk about what that experience was like for you?
“It was a weird situation because I was in Australia when I initially heard they wanted me to come play and I was kind of skeptical at first. So I was like I’m not sure and I had a week to decide and think it over. I just knew that if I got the opportunity, what I could do, and they gave me the opportunity so I just tried to take advantage of it.”
DID: Were you kind of betting on yourself when coming over here to play?
“Yeah for sure, for sure. I was essentially giving up everything I had over there because I was on the verge of getting my citizenship so I had to stay in the country and I had to give that up to take a chance over here. I had no choice but to better myself and showcase what I could do and it paid off.”
DID: Talk about your experience of playing in Australia and New Zealand. How did playing over there help to better your game after college?
“Playing over there (The New Zealand NBL) it’s a very physical league. It’s a tough league so it definitely got me tougher mentally and physically. I was able to prove my leadership skills. In college I wasn’t much of a leader, but going over there and playing with other professional guys you learn to embrace the roles you are given and take advantage of it. It helped to get me to where I’m at now.”
DID: I know you won the MVP of the NBL in 2015. You also won the championship in 2016 and took home defensive player of the year in 2017. Which of those seasons stood out the most for you?
“I’d say the defensive player of the year season. I took pride because I was there for three years and each three years the league got better with better guys and better imports so I always took the role of guarding the best player on each team and I ended up being the defensive player of the year. So yeah I was really proud of that season.”
DID: Do you think that’s one of the reasons the Nuggets targeted you for summer league because of your defense? The team clearly wants to be more defensive minded. Do you think you can be the guy who can shut down the opposing teams best player if you’re called upon?
“Yeah for sure. They told me that from day one that they needed a lockdown defender and a guy who is athletic and can defend multiple positions. In summer league I actually guarded one through five so they were impressed with that and that’s definitely one of the qualities they said they were looking for.”
DID: Talk about your two-way contract and a little of the uncertainty of having to bounce back and fourth. You’ll be limited to 45 days of NBA service. Are you just going to be ready whenever they give you the call?
“Yeah exactly. My main thing is to stay prepared at all times, but always be ready you never know what may happen. NBA seasons are so crazy with so many moving pieces during the season so I am going to just enjoy the process and be ready whenever they need me.”
Torrey Craig had to fight hard for a spot in the NBA. He is definitely a guy that should be easy to root for going forward. Craig has made it clear that he will be ready when his number is called. Don’t be surprised if he performs well whenever that may be.