Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland put together one of the most underrated rookie seasons in NBA history. Given that Hyland played just 19 minutes per contest, his per-game averages of 10.1 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 2.8 assists (on 36.6 percent shooting from three) were beyond impressive.
In fact, the young combo guard averaged the most ever three-pointers per 36 minutes by a rookie with 3.6 triples a night.
He also became one of five rookies ever to average 15 points, 5 assists, and 5 rebounds per 36 minutes on at least 55 percent true shooting. The other four players? Ben Simmons, Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson, and Michael Jordan.
Named to last year’s All-Rookie second team, the No. 26 pick led the Denver bench as its only double-digit scorer. Often keeping the second unit afloat with his contagious offensive energy, Bones seemed to flash more and more potential with every game he played.
Arguably the NBA’s best-kept secret, Hyland plays some breathtaking basketball when he receives significant minutes off the bench.
Hyland played 20 minutes or more in 30 games last season. In those contests, he averaged 14.9 points per game on 47.9 percent shooting from the field and 42.4 percent shooting from three. Hyland also averaged a positive plus-minus of 6.1 in those games as the team went 18-12 overall.
Meanwhile, the rookie’s shooting splits take an abysmal hit when he receives less than 20 minutes. In 39 games playing fewer than 20 minutes last season, Hyland knocked down just 31.3 percent of his field goal attempts and shot only 29.4 percent from deep.
Unlike many young talents, Hyland’s efficiency absolutely skyrockets when his minutes do the same. Bones should adopt an even bigger role in Denver’s offense this season as he looks to inject more life into the Nuggets’ second unit, which finished a mediocre 13th in points per game and 24th in field-goal percentage last season.
Hyland will likely serve as the Denver Nuggets’ clear sixth man and primary scoring option off the bench. If he takes a monumental jump during his sophomore season, his dynamic presence could help the Nuggets surge to title contention.