The Denver Nuggets open their 2022-23 season against the Utah Jazz on the road before traveling to San Francisco to play the defending champion Golden State Warriors.
It’s an interesting start for the team, going against one of the teams looking to tank before facing off against one of the favorites to win it all this season.
In past seasons, it has been imperative for the Nuggets to get off to a strong start but this season, with an elite baseline set, fans should be looking out for more than just the results.
What to watch for in the Denver Nuggets opening night clash: How good is Bones Hyland?
Ever since Calvin Booth traded away Monte Morris, alongside Will Barton, in a deal for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, we knew the pressure would be on Bones Hyland. The second-year guard projects to be the first guard off the bench and he’ll be one of the main (if not, only) creators in the second unit for Michael Malone.
Some thought this trade was too risky, putting a lot of stock in a strong second-half finish from the former VCU product, but regardless, here we are.
Depending on where you look, Bones is one of the favorites for the 2022-23 Sixth Man of the Year award and his pathway to winning that award is clear, score off the bench and score in a big way.
Hyland showcased his shooting both off the catch and off the dribble last season and this will help him play with both bench and starting units. Additionally, when Jamal Murray inevitably misses games due to rest (or injury *crosses fingers*), Bones will slide right into the starting lineup and play a heavier minute load.
The opportunity will be there for Bones Hyland to seize, it’s now just up to him if he’s able to maintain his late-season play for the entire 2022-23 season. We’ll know early on if he’s struggling and then it’ll be a case of pivoting to Ish Smith or a mid-season acquisition.