Revenge is a dish best served… with a dish.
Nuggets rookie Emmanuel Mudiay already had all the motivation he needed to beat the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday, as the Lakers passed on him in the draft for D’Angelo Russell. That’s a perfectly common source of inspiration for most rookies who feel they should have gone higher in June. But just for good measure, Byron Scott added more fuel to the fire.
Not-so-coincidentally, the Nuggets beat the Lakers on Tuesday, 120-109. Mudiay didn’t dominate, and his stat line was just about what you’d expect from a rookie: 12 points (on 3-of-13 shooting), 10 assists, six turnovers and two rebounds. Not great, not awful, but pretty damn good for a first-year point guard starting just the fourth game of his NBA career. More than the assists, though, Mudiay ran the offense with terrific poise and complete command – exactly what you want to see from a true point guard.
Mudiay’s going to through the typical rookie struggles; turnovers, poor shooting, adjusting to the faster pace of play. Yet he’s already earned the trust of his coach and his teammates, in addition to sporting an incredibly high basketball IQ, court vision and passing ability. In fact, he’s done nothing to suggest – either during the regular season, preseason or even summer league – that he’s anything but a point guard.