It’s no mystery that the Denver Nuggets are not a top team in the NBA.
As a result, they should be holding onto their younger players and developing them, which is a very common — and smart thing — to do in this sport. In any sport, really. With that said, it has become known that youngster Emmanuel Mudiay will be available for a trade as the deadline approaches. Here’s one word to describe a possible trade involving Mudiay: Absurd.
According to ESPN, “Mudiay is available, per several league sources.”
While the rumors tend to swirl like no other during this time of the year, it appears that the Nuggets are willing to trade one of their best players from a talent standpoint, and that is where the absurd part comes into play.
Mudiay was drafted No. 7 overall in the 2015 NBA Draft. At the time, he was considered one of the best point guard prospects, and his upside had All-Star written all over it. Mudiay is only playing in his second season. Not to mention, he is not a bust by any stretch.
The guy is averaging 11.8 points per game in 2016-17. Note: He averaged 12.8 points per contest in his rookie season, so, yes, his stats have regressed, which is never ideal.
Here’s what a previous article by ESPN had to say about a possible Mudiay trade.
“The Nuggets are quietly exploring what they might get for Emmanuel Mudiay and multiple picks, sources say, but they’re in no rush to move Mudiay, and the Suns may not want him when they could simply draft a point guard.”
At the time of writing, the Nuggets are the No. 8 seed in the West. They hold a 25-30 record and have playoff contender written all over them. Going along with that thinking, why wouldn’t Denver explore a trade to make the team better right now? Why wouldn’t this team find a better scoring option at the point guard position if it can find a suitable trade partner? Simple. The Nuggets might be playoff contenders, but they aren’t title contenders, and they shouldn’t trade away a young talent as a result.
Yes, Denver is coming off an amazing performance against the Golden State Warriors, a performance in which the team dropped 24 three-pointers and knocked off the Warriors. If a team can beat Golden State, then it can beat any squad in the sport. With that in mind, the Nuggets are still 21 games back in the Western Conference standings, and they have a losing record.
They might make the playoffs, but they need an absolute miracle to win a championship this year. Then again, the sports world has been filled with craziness and miracles as of late. Look no further than the Chicago Cubs coming back from a 3-1 deficit to end a 108-year World Series drought to figure that one out.
There’s no doubt that the Nuggets are getting better, and there’s no doubt that the organization is seeing what it could possibly get for Mudiay.
However, Mudiay isn’t even 21-years-old yet (he turns 21 in March), and he still has a very high ceiling. If he was a better shooter (he is only shooting 31.5 percent from behind the arc for his two-year career), then Denver likely wouldn’t be looking for a possible trade. He still has plenty of time to get better in that department, though.
It’s good to keep your options open. In other words, the Nuggets don’t know Mudiay’s trade value until they test the market, make some calls, and ask around. However, Mudiay could still be the Nuggets’ future. His shooting ability right now would prove otherwise, but the upside is there.
‘Tis the season for NBA trade rumors to run wild, and that is exactly what fans are seeing right now with Mudiay (as well as with Philadelphia 76ers’ Jahlil Okafor). The last thing Denver wants is to trade away a 20-year-old Mudiay and watch him become a star with a different team. If he is still having shooting issues in a year or two, and simply isn’t looking like the player Denver hoped for when it used a top-10 pick on him, then it would be more appropriate to trade him away.
This early in the game, though? That is simply absurd.
[Featured Image by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images]