LAS VEGAS — A few days after he had offseason surgery in April to repair two sports hernias, Jamal Murray gingerly walked around the Nuggets practice court on the second floor of the Pepsi Center looking for something, anything, to help him feel close to basketball.
The most Murray could do was whip a heavy rope back and forth, his upper body doing the work. But something was better than nothing for a player who loathes to be idle. The 20-year-old’s recovery has accelerated since that day. On Sunday, itching to take another step toward the court, Murray warmed up with the Nuggets at the Thomas & Mack Center before their second summer league game.
Murray, who expects to be fully cleared by the start of training camp in September, played spectator during Denver’s 90-71 loss to Minnesota, which dropped the Nuggets to 0-2. The team knows what it has in Murray, a second-team all-rookie selection. The hope for the Nuggets during the Las Vegas tournament is that they gain a clearer understanding of what some of their other young players could bring to the table next season.
Malik Beasley seems determined to carve himself a role in the rotation. After scoring 29 points on 12-of-30 shooting in Denver’s loss to Houston on Friday, the second-year guard out of Florida State vowed to be more efficient. For the most part he was, finishing with 20 points on 8-of-17 shooting. Beasley, who was 3-of-5 from 3-point range, has been one of the top scorers in the summer league.
Beasley played in 22 games as a rookie, averaging 3.8 points. He spent most of the season in the G-League (formerly the D-League), where he excelled as a scorer. The 6-foot-5 guard displayed more of that ability over the weekend, creating off the dribble and finishing in transition.
Juancho Hernangomez, the other second-year player on the roster, added 18 points on 6-of-15 shooting and a team-high seven rebounds.
But there weren’t many highlights to find overall for Denver in its second game. The Nuggets have given up an average of 96 points in two games, the highest yield of anyone in the 24-team field.
Tyler Lydon, Denver’s first-round pick in June’s draft, had a quiet second professional game. The 6-foot-10 forward from Syracuse scored two points in 24 minutes. He missed four of his five shot attempts, including all three from 3-point range, while turning the ball over twice and collecting four rebounds.
Footnotes. Former Colorado forward Xavier Johnson made his professional debut Sunday, playing the final four minutes of Denver’s loss. … Former University of Wyoming star Josh Adams scored nine points on 3-of-4 shooting for the Mavericks in their 88-77 win over Phoenix.