Report: Denver Nuggets to Sign Jarnell Stokes

Knoxville, TN - November 26, 2012: Forward Jarnell Stokes #5 of the Tennessee Volunteers during the game between the Oakland Golden Grizzlies and the Tennessee Volunteers at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, TN. The Volunteers won 77-50. (Photo by Donald Page/Tennessee Athletics/Collegiate Images/Getty Images)

After trading big man Joffrey Lauvergne to the Oklahoma City Thunder earlier this week, the Denver Nuggets are expected to sign Jarnell Stokes, last year’s NBA Development League MVP, to a non-guaranteed contract that will place him on their roster for training camp. Chris Dempsey of The Denver Post broke the news via Twitter:

Stokes, an unproven but talented forward/center, is a much needed big body in what has become a short rotation for the Nuggets.

Report: Denver Nuggets to Sign Jarnell Stokes

NBA Experience

Following a solid collegiate career at the University of Tennessee, Stokes has failed to gain traction in the NBA. He struggled to get on the floor during stints with the Memphis Grizzlies and Miami Heat­ through two professional seasons. Playing in only 26 NBA games, Stokes averaged 2.5 points and 1.5 rebounds per game. To be fair, his lack of playing time is indicative of the rotational depth in Memphis and Miami, not necessarily his abilities.

D-League Success

After being traded to the New Orleans Pelicans, who subsequently released him, Stokes signed to play with the Sioux Falls Skyforce of the NBA D-League. Stokes thrived for the Skyforce, averaging 30.7 minutes per game in 28 games. Shooting 66.5% from the field, Stokes put up 20.6 points while grabbing 9.3 rebounds per game. After leading the Skyforce to a 20-4 regular season win-loss record, Stokes was named 2015-16 NBA D-League MVP.

2016-17 Outlook

Expect the Nuggets to give Stokes plenty of burn at power forward and center to see if they can fit him into their rotation. His skill-set certainly fits a need for the Nuggets, with Lauvergne out of the picture. Stokes has more than a fighting chance at cracking the 15-man roster.

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