If you aren’t excited for the Denver Nuggets’ young nucleus of talent, then you haven’t been watching them very closely.
On Thursday, the NBA released their 2015-16 NBA All-Rookie Teams, and the Denver Nuggets were the only team in the league to earn two selections.
All-Rookie Team selections pic.twitter.com/I81BRaRi2J
— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) May 19, 2016
After Nikola Jokic finished third in Rookie-of-the-Year voting, it’s no surprise that he earned first-team honors. And after a slow start to the season, Emmanuel Mudiay‘s second half was well deserving of a second-team placement, if not more.
Here are their season totals:
Jokic: 21.7 minutes; 51.2% FG; 33.3% 3P; 81.1% FT; 10.0 points; 7.0 rebounds; 2.4 assists
Mudiay: 30.4 minutes; 36.4% FG; 31.9% 3P; 67% FT; 12.8 points; 3.4 rebounds; 5.5 assists
And even with those numbers and accolades, there’s still plenty of room for improvement. For Jokic, his minutes per game are sure to skyrocket next season. At times, Michael Malone protected Jokic from bigger-bodied centers, but after an offseason of strength and conditioning, he’ll be playing a lot closer to 30 minutes a game than 20.
And with Mudiay, all you have to do is look at his post-All-Star-break numbers to understand what kind of production he can put up next year.
Mudiay post-All-Star: 30.7 minutes; 39% FG; 36% 3P; 78% FT; 14.9 points; 3.7 rebounds; 4.9 assists
Add in the fact that Jusuf Nurkic made the NBA All-Rookie Second Team last season and that Gary Harris was one of the leading contenders for Most Improved Player, and it’s hard to deny that Denver doesn’t have one of the best young rosters in the NBA.
Let’s just hope they can make it three years in a row next season with one of their three first-round selections in this year’s draft.