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NBA Summer League: Nuggets Fall to Raptors, Hamilton Continues to Shine

Written by Sean Sachs

One day after knocking off the New Orleans Pelicans, the Denver Nuggets fall to the Toronto Raptors 95-78. The loss means that the Nuggets are knocked out of the NBA Summer League tournament. The Nuggets seemed to be outmatched from the get go. The Nuggets were unable to regain the lead after briefly being up 2-0 at the 9:22 mark of the 1st quarter. The Nuggets shot a measly 39.7% from the field and were outscored in every quarter. 

Of those who struggled, guards Even Fournier and Erik Greene stuck out the most.

Evan Fournier ended with 5 points on 2-7 shots while going 0-4 from behind the arc. The performance by the former 2012 first round pick is somewhat of a concern. Fournier will face far tougher competition this upcoming season and should be playing at a higher level than he has. With F Danilo Gallinari out until at least December and the departure of G Andre Iguadola to the Warriors, there are expectations for the young Frenchman to play significant minutes and have a bigger role with the team.

This was a disappointing performance for the 2nd round pick Erick Greene. Greene had hoped for stronger play in the tournament to possibly cement a roster spot. He has shown flashes of greatness during his 5 games, but hasn't been able to do put it together on a consistent basis. It is unclear what will happen with Erick Greene, but it would be a mistake to cut the young point guard out of Virginia Tech. The kid might need some time in the NBA D-League to develop, but he has the potential to be a darn good player in the NBA.

There was one bright spot Thursday and that was Jordan Hamilton. Hamilton scored nearly a third of Denver's total points with a team high 25. He went 10-21 from the field and shot 4-10 from behind the 3 point line. Hamilton has easily been the best player for the Denver Nuggets in the Summer League to this point. He has the skill set and athleticism to be a star player for this team. He has struggled with decision making in the past and there have been questions about his maturity level brought up. That was a major reason why former head coach George Karl rarely gave Hamilton meaningful minutes. However, the slate has been set clean for Jordan Hamilton under new head coach Brian Shaw. If the Denver Nuggets want to be a force in the Western Conference again, Hamilton is going to have to take a much bigger role for the upcoming year. 

The Nuggets will finish up with one last constellation game Friday. They will finish a dreadful (1-5) or slightly less terrible (2-4).

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