Nikoloz Tskitishvili was a huge bust in the NBA after being selected by the Denver Nuggets with the fifth pick in the 2002 NBA Draft, and he last played with the Phoenix Suns in 2006. However, Tskitishvili now wants back in the NBA, according to Chris Dempsey of The Denver Post.
Tskitishvili played in just 172 games over his disappointing four-year career. He spent the first two-plus seasons of that career with the Nuggets after first-year general manager Kiki Vandeweghe drafted him without ever seeing him play in person, averaging 3.2 points and 1.9 rebounds while shooting a wretched 30 percent from the field. He then had stops with the Golden State Warriors and Minnesota Timberwolves before finally busting out of the league after playing in 12 games with Phoenix.
But Tskitishvili believes he’s a better player now:
“I just turned 32, but I’m better,” he said. “I’m better at this age. I got stronger. I’ve got confidence. I got smarter.”
“I’m 100 times better than I was,” he said. “It’s just very difficult for teams to understand that, because they are looking at the number, the age. If you ask me, this is the best shape I’ve ever been in and the best I’ve been playing in my career.”
While Tskitishvili hasn’t played in the NBA since 2006, he’s been playing around the world in recent years. He’d love to come back and play for the Nuggets, but he’d obviously be willing to take any NBA opportunity given to him.
At this point, it’s hard to see an NBA team actually giving him that opportunity, but perhaps some team extends a training camp invite to see what he’s got left. At the very least, it’d be an intriguing story.