Welcome to another installment of “Making the Leap”, a series in which a look at young players looking to breakout from previous seasons. Today’s person I will be talking about is Emmanuel Mudiay, who actually had himself a decent rookie year but looks to make bigger improvements in his sophomore campaign.
Mudiay’s road to the NBA was different than most players. He was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and moved to Texas to play high school basketball. After committing to play college ball at Southern Methodist University (SMU), he chose to go overseas and play professionally in China with the Guangdong Southern Tigers.
In his one year in China, Mudiay missed most of the season with injury, averaging 18.0 points, 6.3 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 1.6 steals in only 10 games. Once the season was over he entered the 2015 NBA Draft and was selected 7th overall by the Denver Nuggets. While there was questions about his jump shot, that did not stop Denver from making Mudiay the starting point guard from day one.
The shooting concerns came true within the first couple of months of the season. At times his shot looked awful and many said he needs to fix his form. On top of that, he had problems taking care of the ball, averaging 3.2 turnovers a game.
There was some positives in his game this year. As the season progressed, especially after the All-Star break, he improved in his all-around game and was named to the All-NBA Rookie Second Team.
Emmanuel Mudiay 2015-2016 regular season averages: 12.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.0 steals per game while 36.4% (including 32% from three). Played in 68 games and started 66 for them.
The averages itself are not bad, again it is the shooting percentage that hurt him his rookie season. Mudiay played in one summer league game this past week and dropped 23 and looked like he improved somewhat in his overall game. He currently is practicing with Team USA representing the select side.
I think in year two will see a nice jump in Mudiay’s game. We saw towards the tail end of the season and his one summer league game that he has the ability to improve his game. He has the work ethic and leadership abilities to become special in Denver. As far as on the court, Mudiay has great speed and is a good defender and very well could be a top two-way guard in a couple of seasons.
Denver itself will be an interesting team this season. They have a lot of young talent on their roster and it starts with 20 year-old Emmanuel Mudiay. He will be the face of the team for the next couple of seasons and if he can improve not only his jump shot mechanics, but his selection, he’ll be one of the top point guards in the NBA within the next couple of years.
Remember if you missed any of my other Making the Leap posts from this season, click on the links below: