2. Don’t be afraid of letting your young players learn from their mistakes.
Last year, the Denver Nuggets taught the rest of the league many things. They taught us that Nikola Jokic is the best player on the planet. They taught us that you can’t stop Jamal Murray and him in the two-man game. They taught us that they can be a pretty good defense when they need to be.
Most importantly (for this slide), they taught us that you can develop young players while also competing for a title. And that said young players may just come up big for you when you need them most.
The Nuggets allowed rookie Christian Braun to log nearly 1,200 minutes across 76 regular season games last season. He had his ups. He had his downs. But they stuck with him throughout it all. And in the end, he was able to produce some big moments for them during the 2023 NBA Playoffs.
We’ve already talked about Braun’s similarities to our incoming rookie Jordan Hawkins, but what Denver has taught us shouldn’t just apply to rookies. It should hold true for all young players on our roster.
Last season, we started the year giving our 2022 first-round draft pick, Dyson Daniels, the same opportunities his colleague Braun was afforded. However, as the season went on and Daniels made the mistakes that are commonplace of players his age, we began to take away his minutes.
We can’t let that happen this year. Obviously, we are in win-now mode. But our young players (like Daniels and Hawkins) can also be a part of that winning. We just need to exercise trust and patience with them. After all, who knows when we just might need them to provide us with an extra boost.