The Denver Nuggets get to claim they had one of the brightest Rising Stars out there on Friday night in Cleveland, as rookie point guard Bones Hyland took the court and toasted team Barry to the tune of 10 points on 4-10 shooting, falling just short of high scorer for team Payton.
Hyland has shined for the Nuggets of late, and got to put his skills on display for the nation to see on Friday. Hyland shot a team-high seven 3-pointers and showed why he has no issue jacking it up from deep. Friday can be used as a night of practice at the shooting range as he dials in for a playoff push in the West.
Hyland ranks fourth among NBA rookies in 3-pointers made average with 1.7 per game according to Hashtag Basketball. Hyland has been consistently careful with the ball, keeping his turnovers low, and when he gets to the line he’s been dependable, shooting 88 percent from the stripe. That kind of production can earn Hyland more minutes as he fights off Facu Campazzo for time behind Monte Morris at point guard as Jamal Murray heals.
The 21-year-old first-round pick out of VCU has a little flair to his game, adding in spins, finger-pointing and a signature laugh to his careful offensive game and tactic defensive decisions. Before a five-point stinker in Golden State, Hyland was rolling, scoring at least 10 points in four straight games.
Bones is a big reason for Denver’s surge to the sixth seed in the Western Conference despite their injury woes throughout the first half of the season.
Hyland has developed a wonderful relationship with Morris and the rest of his Nuggets teammates, and his charisma carries through the Nuggets’ locker room and fills Ball Arena and every arena he goes to with excitement and wonder. Hyland has added patience to his game, and Nuggets’ head coach Michael Malone is coaching Hyland up on how to break down defenses and make even better decisions with the basketball.
Alongside MVP Nikola Jokic, Hyland has become a joy to watch. Momentum can seem to boom for Hyland’s squad when he is hitting threes, and it feels like it’s only a matter of time before Hyland possesses the game-changing shooting abilities of Patty Mills or Lu Dort. Bones enjoys sending teams to the graveyard and sprinkling a little smack-talk on top. In order for the flowers to grow in Hyland’s game, he will need to learn to take better shots and hope for the depth chart to keep giving him chances to prove himself among a great group of talented, but oft-injured Nuggets guards.
The sky is the limit for Denver’s rising star, and Nuggets fans hope Hyland can keep up the wicked pace he is on while he cuts out a role in the Mile High. Bones is unafraid of the moment, and all he needs is a little push from his coaches and he is set to go crazy at any minute.
It’s been a relief having him to count on so quickly in his career, and Hyland will look to use the All-Star break as a stepping stone in his progress toward greatness.