Nuggets rookie Emmanuel Mudiay’s slide down the 2015 NBA Draft board was one of the more riveting storylines the evening had to offer. But if you ask Mudiay himself, everything worked out for the best in the end.
According to Marc Berman of the New York Post in a report published Monday, the point guard phenom expressed relief to his inner circle that the New York Knicks passed on him with the fourth overall pick.
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Per Berman’s report:
Nuggets rookie point guard Emmanuel Mudiay told confidants after the draft he was, in retrospect, happy the Knicks passed on him at No. 4, as he was unsure he would have been a good fit for the triangle. Despite public comments to the contrary that he felt team president Phil Jackson could “make me a star,’’ Mudiay said he felt he was a better match in a more freewheeling Denver offense, according to sources.
Mudiay, who would be scooped up by the Nuggets three picks later, had a right to be legitimately concerned about his potential fit in Phil Jackson’s fabled triangle offense. His pass-first mentality may have been great for the pillar of ball movement the triangle predicates itself on. But Mudiay has yet to flash a reliable jumper from 17-plus feet, making him a liability in any conceivable triangle. Additionally, the Congolese guard’s inherent up-tempo, Derrick Rose-style mentality would have been stifled in the systematic, shot clock-eating triangle dynamic.
Mudiay had a strong Summer League showing for the Nuggets in Las Vegas. He put up 12.0 points, 3.5 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game en route to All-Summer Second Team honors. With Ty Lawson being shipped to Houston on Sunday, the 19-year-old is now looking at the lion’s share of the minutes at point guard for Denver. All in all, it’s a great endgame for Mudiay as he’s free to torture winded opposing guards with his speed in the Mile High altitude.
Things didn’t work out too badly for the Knicks, either. They used that fourth selection to draft high-upside Latvian sensation Kristaps “Porzingod” Porzingis, who was equally impressive in Summer League -even if he can't live up to this NBA legend's prediction. The Knicks also got their heady, high basketball IQ point guard to slot into the triangle in Notre Dame’s Jerian Grant, who they acquired the rights to on draft night.
In the words of William Shakespeare, “All’s well that ends well.”