Julyan Stone has only played in two games for the Denver Nuggets this season following offseason hip surgery which has curtailed Stone's sophomore season in the NBA. Now, Stone has been assigned to the NBA D-League for the second consecutive season, but this time to work off the rust from being sidelined for the majority of the first three months this season. Aaron J. Lopez of Nuggets.com, has been all over Stone's recent trip to the D-League, as Stone looks to make the most out of his time with the Iowa Energy.
Stone, who is listed as a 6-7, 200 pound guard, has the size and defensive skills to be an NBA-caliber guard night in and night out. While at UTEP, Stone set the all-time record for assists for the Miners, and Conference USA with 714. Watching Stone play, it's easy to notice his seemingly effortless skill in finding the open man out on the floor, whether it be in transition or a set play.
In Stone's first game with the Iowa Energy, he scored 7 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and handed out 5 assists. As Stone eases back into game-shape with the Energy, look for his numbers to increase especially his assist totals. Last season, Stone spent three games with the Idaho Stampede, and averaged 7.3 points, 7.0 assists and 5.3 rebounds in 23.0 minutes.
The Energy welcomed in their new head coach Bruce Wilson with a win against the Springfield Armor last night, and Stone's contributions certainly helped in getting the victory over the Armor for Wilson. The Energy have struggled a bit to start the season, but Wilson and his staff will look to turn things around for the second half of the season.
Another former member of the Idaho Stampede from a season ago is currently on the Energy roster. Energy assistant coach Jordan Brady played four seasons in the NBA D-League and spent 15 games with the Stampede last season where he averaged 7.2 points and 3.4 rebounds for both the Idaho Stampede, and the Los Angeles D-Fenders. Brady is now working with Stone in practices as the two work together in hopes of getting Stone back up to speed for an NBA return.
Like many teams in the NBA D-League this season, the Energy have experienced high turnover, but with the current group of players under head coach Bruce Wilson, the likelihood of a turnaround seems plausible. Even if Stone's time with the team is short, his presence and ability won't be unaccounted for while the Energy play their next four games at home.
Look for Stone to fall back in line with the Denver Nuggets, as he regains his strength and stamina during his stint with the Iowa Energy. The Nuggets, Energy, and Stone all seem to be in agreement that this is the best road for Stone's inevitable return.