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#pounditFriday, February 3, 2023

Emmanuel Mudiay benched for Jameer Nelson

Emmanuel Mudiay

When the Denver Nuggets drafted Emmanuel Mudiay No. 7 overall in the 2015 draft, seeing him benched in favor of Jameer Nelson in Year 2 is not what they had in mind for his development. But that is what has transpired.

Michael Malone said after Nuggets practice on Wednesday that Nelson will be the team’s point guard when the team plays its first game after the All-Star break.

“I’m going to go with Jameer. Jameer is our starting point guard for right now and he has done a good job,” Malone said, via Mile High Sports’ Aniello Piro. “He has earned the trust and he has done a very good job while Emmanuel has been out. When it comes to who plays behind Jameer, that is a decision we are still trying to figure out.”

Mudiay is returning from a back injury that could be affecting his play this season.

The second-year point guard has failed to take a step forward from his rookie season and is averaging just 11.8 points and 4.2 assists per game. He’s shooting just 36.9 percent from the field, though he has improved his free throw shooting to 77.5 percent.

The 25-31 Nuggets currently hold the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, although there is a huge gap between them and the 7th-seeded Thunder. Only 3.5 games separates Denver from five teams beneath them in the standings.

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