Will the Denver Nuggets add champion Facundo Campazzo to the roster for 2020-21.
The Denver Nuggets continue to think outside the box, as various reports have linked them to Argentinian point guard Facundo Campazzo, one of the most decorated international players in the world.
Campazzo, 29-years-old, has played abroad for 10 seasons. He’s currently playing for Real Madrid, who are in the midst of their 2020-21 campaign, and averaging 10.3 points, 5.0 assists and 1.7 steals per game while shooting 40.5% from the field and 32.2% from 3-point range.
His best performance came in the 2016 Rio Olympics, as he led the Argentinian national team with 15.8 points, 5.8 assists and 2.8 steals per game while shooting 37.8% from 3-point range on a team-high 6.2 attempts per game. Ironically though, his most memorable performance — for some — may be when he was accused of hitting former Nuggets star Carmelo Anthony below the belt in the 2012 London Olympics.
Over the 10 seasons he’s spent playing for the Argentinian national team, in the Liga ACB and the EuroLeague, Campazzo has earned accolades such as Argentine Cup MVP (2010), Argentine League Finals MVP (2012, 2014), Spanish League Most Spectacular Player (2017), EuroCup Defensive Player of the Year (2017) and ACB Finals MVP (2019). He’s also nine-time league champion that’s won eight medals with his national team, a distinction that makes sense when you watch him play.
Though undersized at 5’11” and not an upper echelon athlete by any means, Campazzo is a masterful passer and a phenomenal playmaker that makes winning plays offensively. Inconsistent as he is from 3-point range, he makes tough shots and doesn’t shy away from the moment.
It’s easy to see him fitting in with the Nuggets as a veteran who knows what it takes to win a championship. Although there will be questions about his perimeter shooting, finishing, defense and his role in Denver, there are simply some players whose overall skillset is concerning but who have mesmerizing abilities that allow them to compensate for their deficiencies.
Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, though steadily improving as a defender, is one such player. A pointed comparison when considering the fact that The Magician is as almost as dynamic with the ball in his hands as The Joker.
There’s no guarantee that Denver will wind up with Campazzo, as the Minnesota Timberwolves, Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs have also been linked to him.
After adding Leandro Bolmaro and Tyrell Terry in the 2020 NBA Draft, the Mavs will have far less of a need for Campazzo. The same could be said of the Spurs, who added Duke point guard Tre Jones through the draft.
Yes, it’s true, the Nuggets added a point guard to their roster in the draft with the talented R.J. Hampton. They also signed former Marquette point guard Markus Howard, the NCAA’s leading scorer in 2019-20, to a Two-Way Contract.
Still, neither one of these players has the wealth of experience and championship pedigree of Campazzo and who’s to say Dallas or San Antonio aren’t thinking the same thing?
There’s likely a bit of a battle for his services regardless of the rookies that either time have added. That said, per the New York Times’ Marc Stein, Denver is the frontrunner to sign Campazzo.
The Nuggets’ pursuit of Campazzo could mean that one or both of Monte Morris and P.J. Dozier’s roster spots are in jeopardy.
Morris, while a reliable backup point guard with a respectable scoring punch, will be an unrestricted free agent in 2021. Dozier’s contract isn’t guaranteed for 2020-21 or 2021-22.