Now that the dust has settled and Jarred Vanderbilt seems to finally be healthy, he is starting to establish himself as a potential contributor to the Denver Nuggets.
The Nuggets are in a wonderful position to make some noise in the West, as the Golden State Warriors have taken a step back and the two teams in Los Angeles will need some time to get their footing.
In three summer league games, Vanderbilt has shown everything that we saw glimpses of in his 14 games in a Kentucky Wildcats uniform. For those that don’t remember, he averaged 18.5 rebounds per 40 minutes during his time in Lexington.
Out in Las Vegas, he has been hitting the glass, dropping dimes, and even showing a little unexpected shooting ability.
Vando has put up 12 points, 12 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 2.0 steals in three summer league games while shooting 54% from the floor. He has done all of this in just 26.3 minutes per game.
So if you project those numbers to 40 minutes, he would be averaging 18.3 points and 18.3 rebounds per game. That is impressive enough to get playing time no matter what the rest of a roster looks like.
After multiple surgeries on his foot, there was concern about Vanderbilt leading up to the draft. The Nuggets took a chance on him, and fellow injury-prone player Michael Porter, Jr. Porter continues to have unfortunate injuries, but up to this point Vanderbilt seems to be on a genuine path to a bill of health.
If he can stay healthy and contribute off the bench defensively and on the glass, he can help Denver make a case for the top seed in the Western Conference in 2019-2020.