On Tuesday, May 22, the Nuggets worked out two of the better shooting guards in the 2012 NBA Draft class: Terrence Ross from Washington and John Jenkins from Vanderbilt. Ross is a 6-6 sophomore who’s extremely athletic and has made large strides in his defense. Meanwhile Jenkins is a 6-4 junior, known as perhaps the best pure shooter in all of college basketball this past season. Though each is comprised of their own individual basketball DNA, they both share a common bond in that they’re shooters who are somewhat limited in other areas of the game.
Ross is slated to drop somewhere in the mid to late teens while Jenkins is seen as a late first to early second rounder. With the 20th and 37th picks in the draft, there’s a good chance that both Jenkins and Ross will be off the board by the time the Nuggets select. What this pre-draft workout may tell us, more than anything, is that the Nuggets are likely looking to address an area of need at the backup guard position with one of their three picks in the draft.
My candid thoughts on these players and the Nuggets draft strategy is this: First, I like both of these guys. Ross certainly has more”upside” given his athleticism and apparent penchant for playing defense. He also possesses bit more versatility in terms of how he can put points up on the board. That said, the better fit for the Nuggets, and where they’ll get more value, is with Jenkins. What the Nuggets are saying by working out these two players is that they’re in search of a sharpshooter. If that’s the case, you want Jenkins. Though Ross can light it up from beyond the arc, he’s just not in the same category as Jenkins in terms of pure shooting ability. I’m not sure where I read it, but I remember coming across some form of media last year that told of Jenkins once knocking down 20 straight 3-pointers in practice.
Don’t get me wrong; if the Nuggets drafted Ross with the 20th pick you probably won’t see me complaining. At 20, that’s good value for the type of skill set and ceiling he possesses. But… it’s absolutely paramount that the Nuggets draft the best player available (BPA) instead of a team need in the first round, just as every team should. This is going to be a historic draft, especially in terms of depth with the first 35 picks or so. The Nuggets absolutely cannot afford to reach for a need ahead of talent even if it’s at a position like point guard, small forward or power forward where the team seems to be set for the foreseeable future.
If the Nuggets can somehow manage to land Jenkins with the 37th pick that would have to be considered a steal. The good thing is that even if the team misses on Jenkins and Ross there will still likely be several shooting guards available for the Nuggets to select from. Either way, fans should be more than comfortable with Masai Ujiri at the helm, especially after last year’s draft.