Well Nugget fans, the Denver Nuggets are a little over a month away from the start of the regular season. The team’s training camp and preseason contests are right around the corner, so the anticipation is rising. To calm this anticipation, I’m going to take the next handful of articles and talk about one question regarding each player on the roster. This will go for stashed rookies all the way up to the stars on the team. It’ll be a nice time killer until we are able to embark on another Denver Nuggets season.
In today’s installment, take a look into back-up rookie center, Thomas Welsh. Welsh was the final draft pick in this past year’s NBA draft and his role doesn’t appear to be too defined. Given the depth chart in front of him, what should Welsh’s goals be for this upcoming year?
Goal One: Dominate his time in the G-League
Late round rookies usually don’t find NBA court time early in their career unless they’re a Draymond Green or Manu Ginobili. Based on the Nuggets depth chart, it doesn’t look like Welsh is going to be able to crack the rotation regardless of how well he plays. So, instead of just wasting his games on the bench, he should look to dominate the G-League.
Welsh signed a two-way contract and will likely be spending most of his time playing for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. He needs to dominate the paint while looking to try and average close to a double-double. If he can accomplish that and start developing a decent mid-range game, he can become effective at the next level.
Goal Two: Be an effective on the scout team in practice
I’ve played on a number of teams during my high school and college days, many coached by some of the best offensive minds I can ever imagine. One thing that I noticed that each “good” coach utilized a scout team to prepare for their opponents. Whether it was a style the defense had to prepare for or a specific player who they needed to game plan against. Either way, having players who can epitomize these players pay dividends to how teams play in games.
Welsh will have to be this type of player, especially with Nikola Jokic and Mason Plumlee being focal points of the Nuggets game plan. Welsh could allow the Nuggets defense to prepare for the likes of some of the NBA’s top big men. Players like Marc Gasol, LaMarcus Aldridge, Andre Drummond and Hassan Whiteside are huge factors in their team’s success. If Welsh can help imitate those players’ styles in practice, it’ll definitely allow the Nuggets to setup their defense in an efficient way.
Welsh isn’t going to get much playing time in the NBA but he can still be an effective teammate. I’m super excited to see him play this preseason, and then see how he matures during his first year in the NBA.
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