Emmanuel Mudiay is taking a cue from Russell Westbrook of late, playing more aggressively and confidently and impressing coach Michael Malone, as Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post examines. Mudiay’s stock fell in the lead-up to the draft last year, but the Nuggets have empowered the seventh overall pick.
“I love how aggressive he’s playing,” Malone said. “Obviously he’s got to be able to make his free throws. In the last couple of games he’s not converting at the foul line. But I think the art of finishing is something that comes with time, experience, and getting used to playing against the size and length that they have in the paint, and he’s only going to get better. I just like how aggressive he’s playing right now.”
See more from the Northwest Division:
- Kyle Singler played sparingly earlier this season even though the Thunder re-signed him to a five-year, $24.3MM deal, but the desire for more defense has led coach Billy Donovan to put Singler back in the rotation in place of Anthony Morrow, who’s in the final guaranteed season of his contract. The Oklahoman’s Berry Tramel has the details.
- The Mavericks tried to entice the Timberwolves into trading for the No. 21 overall pick this past June, with Raymond Felton attached, but the late Flip Saunders turned down the proposal, according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities (Twitter links). Minnesota wound up trading with the Cavs instead to nab 24th overall pick Tyus Jones.
- The Trail Blazers shrewdly signed Al-Farouq Aminu and Ed Davis to deals that will give them salaries below league average and decline in value over time, allowing the team to benefit from their production at a relatively cheap cost as they move into their primes, contends Keith P. Smith of RealGM. GM Neil Olshey has Portland ahead of schedule on its rebuild, which provides a refreshing contrast to the tear-down efforts of other teams, Smith writes.