Rookie guard Bones Hyland may be a fixture in the Nuggets‘ rotation when the regular season starts next week, writes Mike Singer of The Denver Post. The 26th pick in this year’s draft has been impressing teammates throughout camp and the early part of the preseason with his offensive explosiveness and his attitude toward the game.
“Youngin’s fearless, and I love it,” Aaron Gordon said. “His game is nice.”
Hyland filled the stat sheet Friday in a loss to the Timberwolves with 21 points, eight rebounds and four assists. However, he also had six turnovers and made a costly defensive mistake that allowed Minnesota to send the game to overtime, which coach Michael Malone recognizes as part of the learning process. Hyland staked his case for regular playing time with an impressive shooting night.
“That’s what I do, honestly,” Hyland said. “I was like 2-for-10 on the first two preseason games. I was like, ‘That’s not me at all, that’s not how I shoot the ball.’ … I make it rain from the three.”
There’s more from the Northwest Division:
- Mamadi Diakite was part of championship teams last season in both the G League and the NBA, and now he’s trying to trying to earn a roster spot with the Thunder, notes Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman. Oklahoma City claimed Diakite on waivers after the Bucks released him two weeks ago, giving them 16 players with standard NBA contracts. He is due to earn $1.5MM this season and $1.8MM next season, although both years are non-guaranteed. “I’m gonna keep fighting,” Diakite said. “I’ve been fighting since I was little. I know I have some disadvantages, but I’m an underdog. I’ll keep fighting, and I’ll keep proving everyone wrong.”
- Timberwolves coach Chris Finch didn’t get much of a chance to work with Malik Beasley after being hired in February, but they know each other from their time in Denver when Beasley was a rookie, per Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. Beasley was suspended by the league for 12 games shortly after Finch arrived in Minnesota, then suffered a season-ending hamstring injury in early April. The coach believes Beasley has matured during his five NBA seasons. “You can tell he’s comfortable with who he is as a player,” Finch said, “what his role and impact on the floor is and just his maturity and overall approach is that of a young vet.”
- Jazz forward Bojan Bogdanovic was a full participant in practice Friday and Saturday after dealing with a sore shoulder, according to Sarah Todd of The Deseret News.