Former Terp Robert Carter Jr. has strong summer league debut with Denver Nuggets

After forgoing his senior year at Maryland and going undrafted a year ago, forward Robert Carter Jr. signed with the Golden State Warriors for their summer league team in Las Vegas. Carter didn’t play much and when he got on the court, didn’t play very well, including an 0-for-11 showing on 3-pointers.

Next stop Italy.

Carter put up solid numbers for Enel Brindisi, a middle-of-the-pack team in the country’s top professional league. The 6-foot-9, 230-pound forward averaged 13 points and 6.6 rebounds while shooting 52.5 percent from the field (including 35.5 percent on 3-pointers).

It earned him another summer league invite. Rather than try to make a seemingly loaded team coming off an appearance in the NBA Finals – in Carter’s defense, Kevin Durant had yet to sign as a free agent – Carter took an offer from the Denver Nuggets.

So far, so good.

In the team’s Las Vegas opener, Carter came off the bench to finish with 17 points and six rebounds in 23 minutes of a 102-99 loss to the Houston Rockets on Friday. Carter was efficient offensively, making five of seven from the field, including both of his 3-point attempts, all five of his free throws.

One of his 3-pointers was a halfcourt shot to close what had been a 15-point deficit in the first half to six going into the fourth quarter. Carter helped the Nuggets get even closer down the stretch, with a three-point play off an offensive rebound and two free throws off another follow that made it a one-possession game.

Carter has a more realistic chance to make the Nuggets than he did the Warriors. Denver, which finished 40-42 last season, signed and then traded forward Danilo Gallinari to the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday with the idea that 21-year-old Spaniard Juancho Hernangomez is ready to assume a more significant role in the rotation. The Nuggets received four-time All-Star forward Paul Millsap from the Atlanta Hawks in the three-team trade that also included former Maryland center Diamond Stone going from the Los Angeles Clippers to the Hawks

The good news for Carter is that Hernangomez, who had 21 points and eight rebounds in 30 minutes Friday, is leaving shortly to join the Spanish national team in advance of the FIBA EuroBasket tournament later this summer. That could give Carter more time alongside the team’s first-round draft pick, Syracuse forward Tyler Lydon, in Las Vegas.

The Nuggets also have former first-round pick Kenneth Faried, as well as veteran journeymen Wilson Chandler (a former first-round pick of the New York Knicks) and Darrell Arthur, under contract at power and small forward. Among those also trying out this summer is former Georgetown standout Henry Sims (Mount Saint Joseph).

Carter is one of four members of the 2015-16 Maryland team that started the season ranked No. 3 and ended it with a Sweet 16 loss to Kansas, currently playing in the Las Vegas Summer League.

Jake Layman, who was picked in the second round by the Orlando Magic a year ago (No. 47 overall) and was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers on draft night, played sparingly as a rookie. But he is expected to get significant time this summer. The Trail Blazers took on the Utah Jazz on Saturday.

Playing 29 minutes, Layman finished with 13 points and five rebounds in Portland's 72-63 win over the Jazz, shooting 4-for-8 from the field and 2-for-6 on 3-pointers.

Melo Trimble, who went undrafted this year upon leading Maryland after his junior year, played only 10 minutes for the Philadelphia 76ers in the Jazz’s summer league. He wasn’t used in two of the three games in Salt Lake City. The 76ers, featuring overall No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz, play the summer league team of the world champion Warriors on Saturday (ESPN, 10:30 p.m.)

Stone, who like Carter declared for the draft after the 2015-16 season and was taken in the second round by the Clippers (No. 40 overall), playing most of the year in the D-League, was part of a three-team trade to the Hawks this past week. Stone did not play in Atlanta’s summer league opener against the Brooklyn Nets in Las Vegas on Friday.

don.markus@baltsun.com

twitter.com/sportsprof56

Copyright © 2017, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad
36°