LAS VEGAS – After losing their second consecutive game of Summer League, the Denver Nuggets have little positive to say about themselves, aside from the play of Malik Beasley.
No. 1 on the bad list: Turnovers.
Giving the ball away too much has not just been a problem, but a full-fledged plague.
“It is just really hard to get any type of rhythm, especially offensively, with the turnovers,” Nuggets Summer League coach Micah Nori said. “I hate to beat a dead horse dead but turnovers are killing us. We have 44 turnovers in two games so you aren’t going to beat anybody.”
Denver committed 41 turnovers, actually, in the first two games. This has led to the Nuggets having the worst points-against totals of Summer League so far (192).
“It is the same story as the other night; turnovers. You turn it over 23 times for 23 points and we allow them 11 offensive rebounds,” Nori said. “I just told the team that we got up 65 shots but we give them 34 combined, between offensive rebounds and turnovers. That is giving extra possessions.”
There are quite a few variables as to why Denver has turned the ball over so frequently, the biggest of which is seen though Beasley and Juancho Hernangomez, who are both being asked to play very different roles than they have thus far in their careers.
“Guys are in different roles. Malik and Juancho are our go-to guys now but during the season they will be more facilitators. So they are trying to get used to that,” Nori said. “They are being aggressive and trying to make something happen. That is not always what they do but, still, they are trying to make the right play.”
For Hernangomez, who is attempting to play small forward to allow Denver more depth on the wing, this Summer League has been chaotic. Not only is he playing with goggles because of recent Lasik surgery, which he severely dislikes, but playing out of position has left him frustrated and confused. As a result perhaps: He’s had 11 turnovers so far.
“Juancho is the same way. He is just trying to do too much right now leading to turnovers but it is not for a knack of being selfish,” Nori said after losing to Minnesota. “He is just trying to make a play for us is all he is doing.”
Beasley has been spending significantly more time with the ball in his hands and testing his ability as a point guard in two games as well. The results have been a mixed bag but the experiment has mostly been a struggle as opposed to a positive eye-opening experience.
If Denver hopes to notch their first victory, they need to find a way to eliminate the current turnover plague.
Otherwise, the odds of any wins in Vegas will be next to zero.