NUGGETS

Everybody loved Bones Hyland’s rookie season, what’s next?

May 19, 2022, 3:28 PM | Updated: May 20, 2022, 6:48 am
Nah'Shon Hyland...
Photo by C. Morgan Engel/Getty Images

Bones Hyland spectacular first season ended with an NBA All-Rookie Second Team selection on Wednesday.

The Denver Nuggets’ young guard earned 81 votes on the rookie ballot. The Rookie out of VCU was the No. 26 pick in last year’s draft. Hyland averaged 10 points, 2.8 assists and 2.7 rebounds per game in 19 minutes a night.

“THANK YOU JESUS!!!!!,” Hyland wrote on Twitter. “JUST HUGGED MY MOM & BALLED MY EYES OUT MAN!!!! YOU CAME A LONG WAY BIZZY A LONG WAYYY.”

Hyland is the first Nugget to earn the honor of the NBA’s all-rookie team since Jamal Murray in 2016-17.

“He’s open to learning; I talked to him during the game and tried to give him a couple of pointers,” Murray said about Hyland. “I think he does a great job; he’s aggressive, he’s not afraid at the moment. The sky’s the limit for him; he’s going to see a lot of growth in this sophomore year when we have the whole band back together.”

Murray got 10 more minutes per game in his second season, scoring six more points per game. He’s also improved his shooting percentages, assist and rebound numbers. Hyland also made a massive jump in his sophomore season in college, going from nine points a game to 19.5. So there’s reason to believe Bones could get even better, but his rookie season was great to begin with.
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“I thought it was neat to see Bones’ emergence and the energy brought to that building,” Tim Connelly said.

Bones became a fan favorite with his enthusiasm, microwave-ability to get hot, and connection with the community on Twitter. In the lone Nuggets win, Bones even had a decent series against Golden State, popping off for several threes. One of the many times he cooked in a clutch spot.

“I think Bones was definitely a bright spot for the team to see how he evolved better over the year. Super exciting, good kid,” Michael Porter Jr. said.

And there’s hope with Bones’ wingspan of over six-foot-nine that he can turn into a good defender. Hyland was actually one of Denver’s better defenders this past season, even after a rocky start.

“We came back from a road trip, and I called him in the next day we had a heart to heart. I said right now I said ‘you got to understand this, every time you play, you’re earning a reputation, and teams are going at you right now, and you’re letting them that’s not a reputation you want,’” Michael Malone said. “I said, ‘I know you’re not the biggest, strongest guy. We can’t control that right now. You’re gonna get stronger, but what you can control is your fight. So I know who you are, know where you’re from and what your story is. Bring that to the table.’”

Bones, from Wilmington, Delaware, has overcome a lot of adversity in his life. In his rookie season, he showed some of the fight, getting stronger as the season went along.

After the All-Star Game, Hyland shot 40% from three on almost six attempts a game, scored almost 13 points a night, and added four assists. He was a plus player and seemed to settle in as a guard off the bench.

“I felt once Bones realized that, I felt he made a much greater effort, concerted effort to say you know what, ‘I am going to fight, I am going to compete, I’m going to make people work,’” Malone said. “I feel with Bones that was great to see his progress this year. I thought he was a huge positive. He gets the crowd going.”

Bones has a chance to start next season, possibly taking over the shooting guard spot from his mentor Will Barton. Whether he starts or comes off the bench, Hyland entered the future plans for the Nuggets in his rookie season and possibly made himself part of the core. At worst he’s a heatwave scorer, good shooter and defender. At best, Bones could turn into a solid defensive player that rounds out the Nuggets starters with touch and skill.

“Just keep doing what he’s doing,” Barton said of Hyland. “He’s grown a lot from the beginning to the end of the season. Not with just his game but him being a pro on and off the court. His mindset, attitude—he has a bright future as long as he keeps growing as a person and as a professional.”

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