The nuggets must be mean. Not mean. The cunning, skillful, cunning, sneaky, and sly kind of agent. The kind mean that gets away with it.
They need their own Draymond Green. A guy who doesn’t just crawl into another team’s heads. A guy who gets everything in this team’s fridge, kicks the other team’s dog, curls up on this team’s love seat, and won’t go.
And here’s the cool part: David Roddy, the world’s nicest kid off the pitch, wants to be the kinda mean.
“I think there’s something fascinating about me that I’m willing to take on any type of role,” the former CSU Rams star said Tuesday after attending a pre-NBA draft practice session for the Nuggets at Ball Arena had graduated.
“If that’s what (the nuggets) need, I’ll do it. If I just need rebounds like Dennis Rodman, I’ll do that too. I’m willing to do anything to stay in the league.”
The nuggets also need this hunger. That’s what the front range fell in love with when they first donned Peepers to Bones Hyland and Monte Morris, guys who had to fight to get where they are now and still play like that. That’s what turned Nikola Jokic from a thick-boned lottery ticket into the best player in the world.
“A lot of teams want guys like me,” Roddy noted, comparing himself to the likes of Green, Jae Crowder and PJ Tucker.
“[Guys]who can bring that physicality and can pull off shots, put up great screens and do the glue man and do the dirty work for the team… I think that’s where I’m going to really thrive, especially in Denver.” But in terms of position, I’d say maybe (I’m) a 3 or 4.”
Maybe. Like Jokic, the 6-foot-5 Roddy is a basketball unicorn, a jumble of beautiful basketball contradictions.
The reigning Mountain West Player of the Year is an outstanding high school quarterback in the Twin Cities and a willing and underappreciated passer. He reads the game and anticipates how a point guard can do it on the fly. He has a pair of dancer’s feet under a bouncer’s frame. He can hit with the mass of an NFL tight end (252 pounds) while displaying a feathery, almost cautious touch.
Roddy played anywhere from unprepared to middle at CSU, defending 1s through 5s. Switching wasn’t the problem. Nor was his pick-and-roll acumen, where his mojo has fascinated front offices as a screener and passerby.
Ultimately, however, the shot might be what determines his draft – and his staying power. Roddy spent most of his training open to media emerging from across the arc. Between his sophomore and junior seasons, the CSU star went from an occasional 3-point threat to a mortal threat, increasing his trey rate from 27.8% (on 2.57 attempts) to 43 in years 20-21 .8% (at 3.39 attempts) in the past winter.
“In the NBA, you have to do three-pointers,” Roddy remarked. “You have to make open punches.”
You also need a role. So he thinks of teams – he’s already attended eight – as a low-cost version of the Celtics’ Grant Williams. Or green. And the combine test numbers compared to the latter — Roddy measured 6ft 6 with shoes, with a wingspan of 6ft 11.5in and a maximum vertical of 35.5in; Green registered 6ft 7.5, 7ft 1.25 and 33 – are not that far away.
“He’s one of a kind,” said Calvin Booth, general manager of Nuggets. “He can pass, he can play over the edge, he can score at the bar. There’s not a lot he can’t do on the basketball floor.”
If they’re healthy – and that’s a big deal “if” – The nuggets are solid enough offensively. They also ranked 29th out of 30 teams in opposing field goal percentage within 5 feet of the rim, according to NBA.com tracking data. A year ago they were 30. The only thing the Joker needs more than a shooter is another rim guard nearby. Or two.
“Actually, we have similar styles of play,” Roddy said of the two-time NBA MVP. “Cutting hard, catching great passes and just being the sticky guy who gets rebounds…will definitely get me grounded early.”
Yes, but Dennis Rodman?
“Hey, if I have to,” Roddy replied.
Can’t see you in a wedding dress my man.
“No, absolutely not,” Roddy replied, smiling this time. “Or blond hair.”
Roddy is not a wrestler for Jerami Grant, Gary Harris or Torrey Craig. But he’s mean the right way. Mean the kind that finishes a championship puzzle. The kind mean that wins.