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Emmanuel Mudiay: Will join Jazz

Emmanuel Mudiay

Emmanuel Mudiay

23-Year-Old GuardG

Utah Jazz

$Signed a one-year, $1.74 million contract with the Jazz in July of 2019.

Will join Jazz

July 2, 2019

ANALYSIS
Mudiay saw his role increase last season with the Knicks, though the team ultimately won just 17 games, so it doesn’t appear many front offices were convinced Mudiay turned a corner. He made significant strides in shooting efficiency, however, and he remains a solid passer. In joining Utah, he’ll see his workload decline dramatically, and his best outcome is the first point guard off the bench behind Mike Conley.

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Mudiay appeared to be one of the steals of the 2015 NBA Draft with his incredible rookie season, but he fell victim to a sophomore slump last year. In fact, Mudiay saw a decrease in his points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks. The only positive was that he saw a slight increase in his efficiency, as he shot a higher percentage from both the field and from the free-throw line. Adding to the decreasing value of Mudiay is the emergence of Jamal Murray, as he looks to have surpassed Mudiay on the pecking order with his impressive rookie campaign. That likely puts Mudiay in a battle for the backup role with Jameer Nelson, though he could get a final shot to stake his claim for the top spot in training camp. Mudiay reportedly put in some work with the coaches during the offseason, but the fact that Murray has continually improved while Mudiay has regressed, likely means Mudiay is going to be stuck on the bench, thus limiting his impact in Fantasy leagues.

Mudiay, the seventh overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, endured an up-and-down rookie campaign, finishing with averages of 12.8 points, 5.5 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 1.0 steals in 68 games. As the starting point guard on opening night, Mudiay got off to a slow start, averaging 10.7 points per game on just 31 percent shooting through the first 23 contests of the season before suffering a severe ankle sprain that would cost him 14 games. Upon his return, Mudiay’s shooting woes continued, though he would hit his stride down the stretch, posting a 47.7 true shooting percentage after the All-Star break, compared to a ghastly 40.7 mark before. The jump was due in large part to Mudiay’s improvement as a three-point shooter. After knocking down just 27.2 percent of his looks from deep before the break, Mudiay connected on 36.4 percent of his attempts in the season’s second half, including a 38.9 percent mark during a strong month of March. The Nuggets will be counting on significant improvement from Mudiay this season, as they enter 2016-17 as one of the deeper teams in the Western Conference and hold playoff aspirations. Mudiay is firmly entrenched as the starting point guard, and while the team added combo guard Jamal Murray in the draft, he won’t pose a major threat to Mudiay’s workload as a rookie. If Mudiay can stay healthy for 70-plus games, he has the talent and upside to warrant a mid-round draft position in fantasy drafts. However, taking him any earlier than that will require a belief that he can significantly improve his erratic shooting percentages and trim his turnovers.

The 19-year-old Mudiay is one of the most intriguing rookies this season, and he’ll immediately step into a major role given the offseason departure of Ty Lawson. One of the nation’s top high school players in the class of 2014, Mudiay followed in the footsteps of Brandon Jennings and took his talents to China to play for the Guangdong Southern Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association. Mudiay missed the majority of his only season overseas due to an ankle injury, and it remains to be seen if he can stay healthy for a full, 82-game schedule. In limited minutes for Guangdong, Mudiay averaged 18.0 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 5.9 assists across 12 contests, shooting 48 percent from the field and 34 percent from three-point range. While those percentages are encouraging, he shot only 57 percent from the free-throw line, a number that will have to improve as he transitions to the NBA. At 6-5 with elite athleticism for his position, Mudiay figures to do most of his damage as a slasher in the mold of Orlando’s Victor Oladipo. He’s a strong finisher with both hands and should also produce solid assist and rebounding numbers, particularly considering the large minutes load he’ll likely see as he’s in line to start and play big minutes.