There were mixed reviews about how the Denver Nuggets should approach the 2022 NBA offseason at the beginning of the summer. On the one hand, with the flurry of trade rumors surrounding superstars like Kevin Durant, Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, Bradley Beal and Kyrie Irving, how could the Nuggets not make a push for one of these generational talents.
On the other hand, Denver won 48 games and finished sixth in the Western Conference last season, all without two of their best players in Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. Pointing to the fact that they may not need to switch anything up to contend for an NBA championship as soon as next season.
Despite not dipping their hand in the cookie jar to make a blockbuster trade, the Denver Nuggets still made some incredible moves. Particularly given their cap restraints and limited trade assets.
From drafting two highly touted prospects in Christian Braun and Peyton Watson to acquiring two-way specialist Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and versatile swingman Bruce Brown. It’s hard not to call this offseason a success for the Denver Nuggets.
However, following the news that fan favorite Collin Gillespie will be sidelined ‘indefinitely’ following a fracture in his lower left leg. It looks like Denver isn’t finished making moves with the signing of undrafted rookie free agent, Gabe Brown.
Who is Gabe Brown?
Gabe Brown is a former Michigan State Spartan who spent four years with the program prior to going undrafted in the 2022 NBA Draft. During his first three years at MSU, Brown played a pivotal role coming off the bench for Tom Izzo’s squad before finally becoming a full-time starter in his final year as a Spartan.
Improving each year with the program, Brown went from averaging less than 3 points and 2 rebounds a game as a freshman, to 11.6 points and 3.8 rebounds as a senior. All while maintaining an efficient stroke across the board with .428/.382/.894 shooting splits in 2022. Which was good enough for him to earn a spot on the All-Big 10 Third Team.
What’s even more impressive is the fact that he nearly matched these totals exactly in his Summer League run with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Whom he suited up for after going undrafted and recorded 11.0 points and 3.5 rebounds per game on .421/.370/.100 shooting in four contests, averaging 21.8 minutes per game.
Despite ending on a high note, finishing his final Summer League game on July 17 with 23 points on 5-of-12 shooting from three-point range. The Thunder were reluctant to commit to Green, which resulted in the Denver Nuggets swooping in to sign him to an Exhibit 10 contract heading into training camp.
Will he play for the Denver Nuggets next season?
Chances are, probably not. An Exhibit 10 contract is a one-year, non-guaranteed deal which essentially contains a minimum salary that counts toward the Nuggets’ 20-man offseason roster limit but doesn’t effect Denver’s cap unless the player makes the regular season roster. Which feels pretty unlikely given that the team doesn’t currently have a two-way slot available.
The deal basically ensures that Brown will be a participant in the Denver Nuggets training camp set to take place in the coming months. However, he’ll likely spend next season in the NBA G League with the Grand Rapids Gold. Meaning that he will earn a $50,000 bonus assuming he’s able to stay with the Gold for at least 60 days.
As a 6’7”, 210-pound forward with experience playing for a competitive Izzo squad, there’s reason to be excited if you’re a Nuggets fan. Not only is he a proven and mature talent but his skill set fits perfectly into what Denver’s looking for in future prospects.
He’s a left-handed sharpshooter who can knock down shots from just about anywhere on the court. Outside of his deadly range, making over 38 percent of his three balls last year at MSU, on more than five attempts per game, nevertheless. Gabe Brown has also been incredibly efficient from the free-throw line, hitting over 88 percent of his shots from the line in each of the last three seasons as a Spartan.
His length and efficient shooting certainly make him an intriguing prospect to watch over the next 12 months. While he’s likely to remain in the G League for most if not all of next season, don’t be too shocked if he gets called up before the 2022-23 NBA playoffs roll around. Particularly with the Nuggets recent luck (or lack thereof) with injuries.