African player spotlight: Emmanuel Mudiay
As far as resurrections go in the NBA, Emanuel Mudiay’s is amongst the best stories in recent years.
A move to the New York Knicks proved to be just the lucky break he needed and he has not looked back since.
As far as resurrections go in the NBA, Emanuel Mudiay’s is amongst the best stories in recent years. The term ‘NBA bust’ is loosely and prematurely placed on a lot of players these days and Mudiay was in danger of unfairly being placed in the same bracket as players who had not fulfilled their potential after being deemed surplus to requirements in Denver as the Nuggets grew frustrated with him.
He had started his Denver Nuggets career as a starter in his first two years but the third season proved to be the start of his demise as a Nuggets player, he was relegated to a bench role and he never quite replicated his earlier performances for the team.
A move to the New York Knicks proved to be just the lucky break he needed and he has not looked back since. Under David Fizdale he is currently playing the best basketball of his career, he is currently shooting a career high 44.9% from the field and he is also shooting 34.8% from beyond the arc. As it stands he is tallying an average of 11.8 points per game this season, which is a significant improvement in the last two years for him.
A point guard’s primary role is to run plays and handle the ball a lot but Mudiay has also shown that he can be effective off the ball as well, he can be a catch and shoot player as well on a hot scoring night. His scoring variations give the Knicks a different kind of offensive presence as he can affect the game in different ways, whether he drives to the basket or finds a teammate near the paint Mudiay has learned to be more effective as a team player.
He has taken turns with Tim Hardaway Jr. in terms of running the offense and the two players have complemented each other well. Mudiay’s statement game so far this season was the win over the Milwaukee Bucks at Madison Square Garden as he grabbed 28 points, 3 rebounds, 7 assists and 1 steal.
This was a standout performance that had the Garden rocking; he drilled a game-tying 3-pointer which sent the game to overtime. In overtime he drained two consecutive 3-point shots for the Knicks in the first few minutes, his 7 points in overtime were enough to help get his team over the line in a tense finish. Mudiay has scored double digit points on 12 occasions this season, he is also averaging 16 points per game in the last five games.
The Knicks have been linked with numerous All-Star point guards such as John Wall, Kyrie Irving and the phenomenal Kemba Walker but for now Mudiay is doing a solid job, whether or not he is warming the seat for his potential successor the Congolese guard will always give 100 percent for the Knicks and that’s what makes him admirable.
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