Jarred Vanderbilt flashes potential at summer league

Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell (1) shoots against Denver Nuggets forward Jarred Vanderbilt (8) during the second half at Barclays Center.
Feb 6, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell (1) shoots against Denver Nuggets forward Jarred Vanderbilt (8) during the second half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Jarred Vanderbilt only has one gear and it is rarely off.

In the Nuggets second game of summer league, Vanderbilt was in attack mode as he showcased why Denver made him a second-round pick in last years draft.

“I feel like I came out a little more aggressive to start the game, try to be more assertive,” Vanderbilt told the media after Denver’s loss to Boston.

From the opening tip, Vanderbilt played far more aggressive than he did in the Nuggets first game of summer league and it led to better results.

“That’s what I’m learning,” Vanderbilt said on knowing when to keep his foot on or off the gas pedal. “Each game, I’m learning to create more pace and I’m just tying to slow down, so I can make reads. I try to play hard and play aggressive, but at the same time and I’m still working to maintain the pace and slow that down.”

After scoring just four points in Denver’s first game of summer league, Vanderbilt bounced back with a double-double of 12 points and 12 rebounds. Vanderbilt’s rebounding ability was on full display as he was everywhere on the glass and was even out rebounding Celtics 7-foot-7 big man, Tacko Fall.

Rebounding is certainly one of Vanderbilt’s greatest strengths, but his playmaking ability is  often something that gets overlooked.

That dunk displayed how Vanderbilt can play not just in transition, but off the bounce as well. When Vanderbilt is in attack mode, he is a very tough player to stop. Vanderbilt’s aggressive play on Tuesday had a lot to do with point guard Brandon Goodwin as both vowed to be more aggressive after their first game in Vegas.

“I’m glad that he came in being in attack mode — that was big — I told him that last night not to be tentative. I know he hasn’t played in awhile, but there is not many guys that can stay in front of him that is his size,” Goodwin said on Vanderbilt’s play. “That was really important for him coming into this game and finding his rhythm offensively.”

Goodwin’s role as a leader on the Nuggets summer league team has been huge not just for the team, but specifically for Vanderbilt.

“Me and B (Goodwin) are probably the only ones that have played for awhile, so we had a little chemistry. So, like I said, we talked about it yesterday about both of us being more aggressive and trying to find each others spots,” Vanderbilt said on his relationship with Goodwin.” Like you said, he just told me to be more aggressive and just attack, which I came and did out there today.”

Not only did he leave a solid impression on Goodwin, but Jordi Vanderbilt also mentioned how “amazing” Vanderbilt has been overall.

“He’s been good. He plays 2,000 miles an hour and that is one of his strengths, but he also needs to understand certain situations when he is playmaking and the courts got to be spread and the space for him. Happy with his effort. I know a little thing, his communications got to be better, his understanding of defensive situations. But again overall, Jarred has been amazing.”

Effort and intensity is certainly something that Vanderbilt always brings, but his ability to hone that in is when he plays at his best. Tuesday nights performance was a solid step in that direction, now he just has to do that more consistently.

Vanderbilt will have a chance to build on his performance tonight when Denver squares off against Golden State at 8:30 pm MST. That game will be televised on ESPNU.

SHARE