Torrey Craig has made an interesting trip to the NBA. Craig went out of service during the 2014 NBA Draft and spent his first three professional seasons in Australia. He signed a two-way contract with the Denver Nuggets for the 2017-18 season. His play earned him a two-year $ 4 million contract with the Nuggets.
Craig received a fair amount of playing time during the 2018-19 season due to injuries to Gary Harris and Will Barton. He quickly developed a reputation as a defensive cap, often charged with overseeing the elite guards in the West from Donovan Mitchell to Demar Derozan to James Harden to Russell Westbrook.
Craig’s spotlight further brightened during the 2019 Playoffs, where he distinguished himself during the Nuggets’ first round matchup against the San Antonio Spurs. He scored 18 points with 5 three in Game 4 and also did an extraordinary job slowing down both Derrick White and Demar Derozan.
Craig’s profile will further increase with the NBA games in Orlando this summer. It will be there that Craig will be able to further amplify his defensive exploits and auditions for the various teams that watch these games closely.
The Nuggets have already been awarded to approximately $ 111 million in active wages during the 2020-2021 season, excluding withdrawals (or $ 102 million if Jerami Grant opts from his contract). While the Nuggets can afford Craig, they already have Will Barton’s long-term contract on the roster and are heavily invested in Michael Porter Jr. It may not make sense for them to invest a long-term deal in Craig.
To be fair, many teams will be in the running to pick up the South Carolina native. Of course, even teams above the limit can attempt to use the non-taxpayer MLE to sign it to a long-term deal. The Phoenix Suns, for example, would definitely be interested in Craig, simply to make Devin Booker’s life easier.
The Western Conference, as a whole, would benefit if the Knicks swooped down Craig. He will turn 30 at the start of the 2020-21 season, so he’s not a spring chicken. However, defensive caps are always needed in teams contending for the playoffs; there is nothing wrong with taking a look at his signature.