Sometimes the prospects at the Nuggets’ pre-draft workouts could not even get off the Pepsi Center practice floor before Monte Morris took their spot. Morris would quickly resume ball-handling, cutting and shooting drills with Denver’s player development staff.

While other Nuggets players dispersed across the world to their hometowns and personal trainers over the past two months, Morris stayed in Denver and worked on his game.  He improved his strength and tweaked his shooting form. Now Morris feels ready for his audition for the Nuggets’ backup point guard job, which begins at NBA Summer League in Las Vegas later this week.

“I’m very high on myself talent-wise and skill set-(wise), because I’m here with all the coaches putting in the time with my game,” Morris said following the Nuggets’ first summer league practice. “I’m trying to go out there and make everybody else believe that I can play at this level.”

Though Nuggets’ starter Jamal Murray is a dynamic scorer, Morris is more of a prototypical point guard that excels in the pick-and-roll. He broke the NCAA record for assist-to-turnover ratio as a freshman at Iowa State (4.79), then exceeded his own mark as a senior (5.17). Denver drafted Morris in the second round a year ago and signed him to a two-way contract, sending him to the G League’s Rio Grande Valley Vipers for the bulk of last season.

But Morris aimed to learn from his limited time with the Nuggets. He made his NBA debut in his home state at Detroit, where family members screamed with joy and snapped cellphone photos from their lower-bowl seats. He got his heaviest minutes in a February blowout loss at Houston where, despite the lopsided score, he often matched up with MVP James Harden and future Hall of Famer Chris Paul.


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