NBA Draft Combine Basketball Hyland

VCU's Nah'Shon Hyland drives to the basket past Seton Hall's Sandro Mamukelashvili during the NBA Draft Combine at the Wintrust Arena, June 24, 2021, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Things came together for Bones Hyland and the Summer League Nuggets just before it ended.

The Nuggets’ Summer League finale, a 94-87 win over the Milwaukee Bucks, saw Denver finish 2-3 after losing the first three as the team dealt with health and safety protocols.

“I think the character of the guys was shown in these last two games,” Denver’s coach Charles Klask said. “They didn’t hang their heads. Nobody was like freaking out after those first couple of losses. They stayed the course. They knew they were better than we performed. They always tried to play together and play for one another.”

Hyland, the Nuggets' first-round pick, missed the first game while he quarantined but bounced back to finish with averages of 19.8 points, 4.8 assists and 3.3 rebounds while making 40% from 3-point range. He scored 15 of his 20 points in the second half Monday and added five assists, two rebounds and a steal. He said he grew as a leader in Las Vegas.

“My first game that I played, I wasn’t as vocal as I usually be,” Hyland said. “So I’m like … the rest of the games, I need to be more vocal, because when I’m vocal, I can give my teammates the confidence, the joy. My energy is contagious. They feed off of me, and I feed off of them.”

Deonte Burton and Zylan Cheatham each scored 13 points, while Caleb Agada added 12 off the bench.

“Once we got out of quarantine, it was really fun,” Burton said. “Once the team got together, being around each other, we genuinely like each other and playing together.”

Zeke Nnaji, Denver’s first-round pick a year ago, continued to struggle with his shot and finished with three points on six shots. Klask wasn’t worried and said Summer League can be a tough environment for a player like Nnaji, who excels in more structured settings.

“He’s a great team player, and I wouldn’t over-evaluate these five games with him,” Klask said. “He’s going to help us win come October."

Bol Bol sat for the final two games after strong showings in the first three games. Klask said it became an opportunity for the Nuggets to give some minutes to other players.

“It was kind of a group-wide decision,” Klask said. “He played really well.”

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