The directive for the Nuggets in their third game of summer league is simple: reduce the turnovers.
Miscues have been the biggest hindrance to their ability to win so far. They’ve committed 22 turnovers per game through the first two, and have allowed 25.5 points per contest off of them.
“Take care of the basketball,” said Nuggets summer league coach Micah Nori said after Monday morning’s shootaround. “That’s been our Achilles Heel. When you look at the numbers and defensively watch the film, we’re pretty good when we don’t turn it over and can set up our defense.”
The Nuggets’ ability to stay away from turnovers gets its toughest test yet facing Toronto (6 p.m., ESPNU). The Raptors are one of the best, stingiest defensive teams in summer league.
“We know from the regular season that they are a very aggressive defensive team,” Nori said. “So what does that mean? We’ve been turning it over a lot because we’ve been playing in crowds. We know that they are going to be a ‘heavy nail’ team, so there’s always going to be someone in front of you. So, draw that guy, get the ball to a teammate and attack from the second side.”
As with the first two games, the Nuggets will shake up the starting lineup a bit. Monte Morris is expected back with the opening five, and Henry Sims gets the nod at center.
“The thinking is to try to get everybody some minutes,” Nori said. “Monte and Nikola (Radicevic) are both our guys, so we’re going to alternate them throughout the summer league. The ones consistent among the starters will be Tyler (Lydon), Juancho (Hernangomez) and Malik (Beasley).
“I tell the guys, don’t read into anything. Everybody is getting an opportunity to play in summer league, so don’t lose sight of what we’re doing. It’s for our front office staff to evaluate guys. You like to see guys that work so hard and try and get them an opportunity not only so our front office can evaluate, but these guys are all looking for jobs, too. So, the more that they can get in, the better it makes you feel.”
QUICK HITS. This is the final game for the Nuggets before teams are seeded and the tournament phase of Las Vegas Summer League begins. Each team is guaranteed five games, so the Nuggets have at least two more contests after tonight. … Forward Howard Sant-Roos (cheekbone fracture) participated in shootaround and will be available to play as long as he has a mask. He was expecting one to arrive today.
Christopher Dempsey: email@example.com and @chrisadempsey on Twitter