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Nuggets' GM Tim Connelly said the former Hokie will be able to play off-guard and point guard.
The Roanoke Times | File February
Former Virginia Tech guard Erick Green (11) said it was a dream come true to be drafted. “It means a lot. It doesn’t matter where I got picked,” Green said.
Virginia Tech's Erick Green was selected in the second round of the NBA draft on Thursday.
Saturday, June 29, 2013
Erick Green is ready to head west.
So are Jamelle Hagins and Troy Daniels.
Green, who led the nation in scoring as a Virginia Tech senior this year, was chosen by the Utah Jazz in the second round of the NBA draft Thursday night. The Jazz then traded his rights, along with cash, to the Denver Nuggets for the rights to Denver’s first-round pick.
“I woke up this morning and it’s not a dream, so it definitely feels good,” Green said in a phone interview Friday. “I’m just so happy. I can’t believe I’m a Nugget. It’s a great opportunity for me to contribute.”
Green, who plans to fly to Denver on Sunday, was the 46th overall pick in the 60-player, two-round draft. His agent phoned just before the selection to let him know Utah would be picking him on behalf of Denver and trading him to the Nuggets.
Green said it was a dream come true to be drafted, even if he didn’t go in the first round.
“It means a lot. It doesn’t matter where I got picked,” Green said.
Green will play for Denver’s team in the NBA’s Las Vegas summer league, which will be held July 12 to 22. League games will air on NBA TV.
As expected, Hagins and Daniels were not drafted Thursday. But the former William Fleming teammates will also play in Vegas.
Daniels, who was a senior guard at VCU this year, said he reached an agreement to play for the Charlotte Bobcats’ team in the Las Vegas summer league.
Hagins, who was a senior forward at Delaware this year, said he will play for Miami’s team in Las Vegas. Hagins said he will also play for the Brooklyn Nets’ team in the NBA’s summer league in Orlando, Fla. That league will be held July 7 to 12 and will also air on NBA TV.
A good summer-league performance can earn an undrafted free agent a spot in a team’s training camp in the fall.
“I wasn’t let down by not being drafted,” Hagins said. “I haven’t lost any motivation. I’m still hungry to go out there and play again.”
“I’m very excited,” Daniels said. “This is another door and another opportunity for me to potentially [make] an NBA roster.”
Green is not a lock to make the Nuggets’ team in October. But he will be the only 2013 draftee on Denver’s preseason roster.
The Nuggets traded the rights to their first-round pick, Rudy Gobert, to Utah in the Green deal because they did not want to spend big bucks on a rookie who would be coming off their bench. As a second-round pick, Green won’t even have a guaranteed contract.
The Nuggets traded away their own second-round pick to Memphis in another deal last night.
Denver was one of the teams that brought Green in for a workout in recent weeks.
“We had a clear deficiency last year in shooting,” Denver’s new general manager, Tim Connelly, told The Associated Press. “He certainly checks that box.”
Green averaged 25 points and 3.8 assists this year.
“He’s a natural scorer. He brings kind of a dynamic attribute to the backcourt … that’s rare to see,” Connelly said in a video of his post-draft news conference on the team’s website.
Connelly said Green will be able to play both off-guard and point guard in the NBA.
“The idea of a pure point guard is kind of a dying theme in our league,” Connelly said at his news conference. “His scoring is what stands out, and we have to embrace that part of his game. He’s certainly not a traditional point guard, but he’s capable of playing both positions.”
Green, who had been viewed as a likely second-round pick, was the first ACC player of the year to fall to the second round since Duke’s Chris Carrawell in 2000.
Denver won 57 games this year but fired George Karl after the team lost in the first round of the playoffs. Karl was replaced by Brian Shaw.
The Nuggets were a perennial playoff participant under Karl. The team includes starting point guard Tywan Lawson, starting off-guard Evan Fournier and backup point guard Andre Miller.
“I definitely know I’ve got to work my tail off,” Green said. “I’ve got to get stronger. I’ve got to learn this game. But I think I’m going to do well. I can learn from Tywan and Andre Miller. [The Nuggets] like to run, so I think that’s what I’ll succeed at.
“I’m going to go out there and prove myself and show people I belong, show that I can play for the Nuggets and I can run a team and be a backup guard.”
Green’s first chance to prove himself will come in Las Vegas.
“I’ve just got to start from the bottom, like I did in college, and continue to work every day,” he said.
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