The Nuggets Should Trade Bones Hyland

Oh man, it kills me to write this.

There’s been more than just a little chatter about the Nuggets potentially moving Bones Hyland for assets at the trade deadline.

This isn’t fake news. Trading Bones before the Feb.10 trade deadline is a very real possibility. A possibility that not many fans will agree with. And who’s to blame them? Bones is one of the most likeable personalities in the entire NBA. Outside of his well chronicled incredible journey just to get to the NBA, Bones has such an infectious personality that’s impossible not to like.

Unfortunately, we as fans also have to understand this bleak reality:

Right now, Bones Hyland is unplayable in the playoffs.

Bones is by far the Nuggets worst defender. He doesn’t know where he is half the time on that end, and when he does, he can’t stay in front of anyone.

Bones has the worst +/- of anyone on the team who plays significant minutes.

The Nuggets, who are in first place in the Western Conference (and have the second best record overall), have been a -136 when Bones Hyland has been on the court this year. For a little context, when Jokic has been on the floor, the Nuggets have been a +381.

But it’s not just Bones’ defense that’s been the problem.

The ball sticks in his hands on offense. As talented has Bones is with the ball in his hands, and he is incredibly talented…

…he doesn’t fit in with the normally excellent flow of our offense. Bones has a James Harden-like skillset on a team that plays like the 2014 San Antonio Spurs.

The ceiling on Bones Hyland is astronomically high. Like perennial All-Star high. Which is why trading him would be such a tough pill to swallow for so many people.

I get it.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending how you see it), the Nuggets time is NOW. Not two years from now when Bones could potentially help this team. It’s NOW.

So what would the Nuggets get in a potential trade for Bones Hyland?

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Well, in my opinion, the Nuggets could go one of two ways.

  1. Get a really good 3 and D guy to play shooting guard on the bench unit.
  2. Trade him for a decently high 2023 first round pick.

Now the first option makes a ton of sense, right? Bruce Brown will be the backup point guard in the playoffs even if the Nuggets don’t trade Bones, and filling in that backup shooting guard role with a proven 3 and D guy would fit seamlessly with how Denver’s trying to build around Jokic.

The second option doesn’t seem great on the surface, I’ll admit that. The draft is never a guarantee, and only getting back a draft pick for the potential that Bones has would really piss off a fanbase that’s fallen in love with the guy. But hear me out…

Both options make the Nuggets a better basketball team RIGHT NOW.

We don’t get a player back for Bones? Guess who would get those minutes? That’s right: Christian Braun. And listen, as much as I love Bones, Christian Braun is way more likely to be a part of this teams future. Right now, and five years from now. Braun is the perfect compliment to Jokic on offense (especially if he starts hitting more of his 3’s), and as a rookie, he’s already one of the best defenders on the team.

Unlike Bones, you could play Christian Braun in the playoffs this year.

The other benefit to this second option is that a first round pick could be an asset for a future trade. An asset the Nuggets are lacking after acquiring Aaron Gordon from the Magic.

Now the third option would be to get both of those things. A player and a pick. I don’t think it’s totally out of the realm of possibility that a team looking for a star could give the Nuggets both of those things. I predict there will be some serious action at the deadline this year, so who knows what could happen.

All I know is this –

Bones may very well become a star in the NBA.

Unfortunately, whether it happens this year or in the future…

It doesn’t look like Bones fits into the Jokic solar system.


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