Denver Nuggets Big Board: First impressions

It’s been nearly a year since Roundball Mining Company unveiled its last Big Board. The man who held the No. 1 spot on that list ended up being the man who the Nuggets drafted with the 22nd pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. That worked out pretty well. Now after months of scouting and analyzing the NCAA’s best prospects, I finally get the opportunity to do one of my favorite things in the world: speculate on the NBA Draft. This is Roundball Mining Company’s first Big Board of the year.

Before we get started there are few very important things you should know.

First: I am not a professional scout. Hell, I’m not even an amateur scout. To me, the word “scout” implies someone working for a team. I don’t do that. Everything you read from here on out is nothing but my first-hand observations of players I’ve watched throughout the 2011 NCAA Mens Basketball season, in addition to numerous scouting reports and articles I’ve read to corroborate my initial findings.

So why trust me?

Again, I’m just a fan who writes; however, I do watch more college hoops than the average Joe. Last year I got accepted to moonlight for The Hoops Report and while I didn’t get to write nearly as much as I had hoped, holding the position forced me to compile scouting reports for many of the top prospects in the country. Unless otherwise noted, each of the players below are ones I’ve seen play in full, 40-minute games at least two to three times last season. While I understand this is an extremely small sample size compared to what NBA general managers see, it has still allowed me to gauge each of these players’ strengths and weaknesses, as well as everything in between.

Second: The crop of players I’ve culled, and will continue to select in future articles for our Big Board series, are done in respect to prestigious NBA Draft analysts’ “mock drafts.” Illustrious writers for ESPN, DraftExpress, HoopsWorld and HoopsHype among others, compile scrupulous mock drafts based on talent, potential, team needs and most importantly, what they hear from those plugged into the NBA Draft circuit. These trusted mock drafts offer up an extremely accurate blueprint for which players may go where; therefore, guys like Harrison Barnes and Bradley Beal will not be appearing in this Big Board! This article is reserved strictly for players that have a solid chance of being available with the 20th pick in the Draft!

Finally: (And this sort of ties into the last point…) Those who appear in this Big Board are guys who almost certainly won’t go much higher than the 20th pick in the Draft. There is still a lot of time before June 28. Rumors will slowly leak and we will gain a better understanding of which teams likes which guys, but for now, these are players most see as mid to late first-rounds picks. There will be separate Big Boards for different crops of players leading all the way up to Draft night. To start off, lets take a look at the most underrated, yet realistic options for the 20th pick, aka, my favorites thus far…

1. Andrew Nicholson // Senior – St. Bonaventure // 6-9 // Power Forward

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Unlike last year when I knew Kenneth Faried would hold the No. 1 position on RMC’s Big Board throughout the pre-Draft process, 2012 has required quite a lot of  “prospecting” in order to find a top dog for our list. Truth be told, any of the names below would be great selections at 20, however Nicholson stands out for several reasons.

When I first watched Nicholson at the beginning of this past season I was thoroughly impressed; after watching him lead St. Bonaventure to its first NCAA Tournament birth in over a decade, I was sold.

In the Atlantic 10 title game against Xavier, Nicholson put forth an incredible 26 points, 14 rebounds and eight blocks on .538 shooting from the field and a perfect 10-10 from the free throw line. It was one of the most dominating performances I can remember seeing at the college level.

For the season Nicholson averaged 18.5 points, 8.4 rebounds and two blocks per game while winning the Atlantic 10′s Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year awards. He also had a 21-point, 23-rebound game against Duquesne; scored over 30 points four different times and shot .434 percent from beyond the arc despite being a 6-9 power forward. In other words, he had an absolute monster season, most of which went uncovered by the national media.

Though the numbers are appealing, it’s Nicholson’s skill set that intrigues me most.

Originally a low-post defender, Nicholson improved his perimeter shooting each year at St. Bonaventure to the point where he’s now drawing comparisons to Ryan Anderson — the NBA’s leading 3-point shooter in 2011-12. Though this is definitely a misleading, it goes to show just how impressed scouts are with Nicholson’s range.

Nuggets fans shouldn’t get it twisted. I’m here to tell you: Nicholson’s post game is his real strength. Since his freshman year he’s gained 50 pounds. He has a lengthy 7-4 wingspan, measured in with the biggest hands at the NBA Draft Combine and size 18 shoes. He’s extremely nimble for a power forward and has some of the best footwork of any prospect over the last handful of years. He has a lethal drop step and an array of different hooks. All these elements combine to form a post presence already fit to compete in the NBA.

Knocks on Nicholson are that he’s not super athletic, that he runs weird (picture the Grinch) and that he’s not a great creator or passer. In my opinion, all of these criticisms are deceiving.

Is he Hakeem Olajuwon? Of course not, but who is? To say he’s lacking in athleticism is just off base. Though he does hunch when he runs — which could perhaps create back problems down the line — it’s not as if this is incurable or some sort of “red flag.” Dude just runs weird. You would too if you had feet that big. As far as his passing goes, at St. Bonaventure he was asked to carry that team on a nightly basis. Occasionally Nicholson will get sticky hands but he’s about the last thing from Carmelo Anthony in that sense. Nicholson has proven to be a team player and if surrounded with more talent, should have no problems sharing the rock.

Overall, my conclusion of Nicholson is this: He’s a very crafty, very skilled big man who can score efficiently in the post, stretch the floor and play lock-down defense. How often do these types of guys come along and furthermore, fly under the radar? Word on the street is that Nicholson is tearing up workouts and if that’s the case, he has a great chance of going higher than 20 — which he damn well should. If Nicholson played for North Carolina or Kentucky he’d be a top 15 pick. Thankfully for the Nuggets he played at St. Bonaventure and wore brown uniforms.

2. Royce White // Sophomore – Iowa State // 6-8 // Power Forward

We covered White extensively in our last post. By now Nuggets fans should be familiar with his game as well as his off-court drawbacks. Having led his team in all five major statistical categories last year, White is probably the most versatile forward in the Draft. Unfortunately he’s also hindered by chronic anxiety, which includes fear of flying. While this continues to give franchises trepidation about drafting him in the first round, White has been vocal in stating his confidence to overcome his anxiety, specifically that of the aerial variety.

After watching the Draft Combine in Chicago a few things become clear, or should I say, more clear about White: (A) He’s a bad shooter. And (B), he’s a really interesting guy.

Watching White try and shoot was almost painful. I knew this was a weakness however it didn’t stand out in games as much as it did at the Combine when he was forced to take one jump shot after another. Not only did White miss almost every attempt, but his form looked broken as well. At this point White just isn’t confident in his shooting stroke which is plain to see.

Don’t put too much stock into this one performance as the Combine is virtually useless these days; however, do keep in mind that unlike Nicholson, White has glaring weakness to his game that will need some work.

Reports are White is impressing everyone in the interview process. Fran Fraschilla stated how he and his team are extremely confident in his ability to overcome his fear of flying.

He also gave an interview with Andy Katz. It was short and to the point. Here is what I collected:

I really like White from a personal standpoint. Admittedly, a small reason why Nicholson is No. 1 on this list is because he’s intelligent and has a personality. White is the same way. He carries himself well, is articulate and has received good grades in school. When asked by Katz if he was growing out his beard as an ode to James Harden, White said no, that it was actually an ode to John Lennon, however he appreciates the way Harden plays the game of basketball.

Judging prospects based on their taste in music is obviously ill-advised and and illogical. Though White was going to appear at this spot regardless, his appreciation for good music certainly didn’t dock him any points. Good thing I’m not a scout.

3. Will Barton // Sophomore – Memphis // 6-5 // Shooting Guard

If you know why Will Barton is slated to go in the late first to early second-round of the Draft, please tell me… because I can’t figure it out.

Like Nicholson, this is a guy I’ve had my eye on all year long. After the first month of the season when he was averaging roughly 21 points and nine rebounds per game against teams like Michigan, Louisville and Georgetown, I just figured everyone would eventually catch on.

Not exactly the case.

While Barton eventually cooled off he still finished the season averaging 18 points, eight rebounds three assists and nearly 1.5 steals per game while shooting .509 percent from the field and .35 percent from downtown. He was named Conference USA Player of the Year and led Memphis to the conference title as well as a second-round birth in the NCAA Tournament.

Recently Hoops World interviewed Barton in an articled titled, Will Barton, The Sleeper of 2012 Draft? In it Barton expresses his frustration with being overlooked and emphatically states how, across the board, his numbers were better than his counterparts who are slated to go in the Lottery.

In terms of his game, Barton is very well rounded and energetic. He has one of the best motors in the 2012 Draft class (rare for a shooting guard) and rebounds like a power forward. He’s extremely athletic and utilizes his acrobatics to finish strongly around the rim. He’s a solid shooter with a crafty mid-range game yet has the ability to stroke it from deep. Though shot selection can be a problem at times, Barton has improved significantly in this regard, showing maturity in the process.

Terrence Ross and John Jenkins have both worked out for the Nuggets. If it’s a shooter the team is after, each of those players is a solid option; however, the best pure value at the shooting guard position likely comes in the form of Will Barton. He’s this year’s MarShon Brooks.

Other players to consider:

Tony Wroten Jr. — A 6-5 combo guard with incredible upside yet a bounty of worrisome problems.

Quincy Miller –A 6-9 freshman forward who was ranked as a top five high school prospect before blowing out his knee.

Draymond Green — A versatile 6-7 power forward who has the potential to be special if he continues to improve his body.

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  • Landry

    Kalen,

    I like your insight that we are short at the PF position. It is the only place that we don’t got 3 deep in case of injuries for an 82 game season. Clearly, the nuggs need some form of post presence and as this rookie is likely to ride the pine as most GK rooks do. This makes me salvate over your report on Nickolson as the nuggs need to develop their post presence steadily!! Plus he can show up both Kenneth and Javale in practice their two weaknesses, a solid mid range/post game that they’ll have to compete against in practice next year. Maybe send a letter to Masai about this kid because everybody and their mother seems to the nuggs need more help at the guard position, which i don’t really understand with Stone and Hamilton finally escaping the GK hazing.

  • Cch

    Thoughts on crowder if available at 20? Also thoughts on drafting Matt Gatens with that last 2nd round pick, guy really resembles AAA’s game.

    • Kalen

      I like Crowded a lot but 20 is too high for him. He will probably still be available at 38, if not and Nugs really like him they can always trade up.

    • Aaa

      Of course he will be available but he isn’t even worth pick 38

    • Ryan

      Crowder lacks a position at the NBA level. Other than cool hair to match Faried, he wouldn’t be an asset to the Nuggets.

  • Brian

    I’d like to hear more about Draymond Green. Yes he is a bit undersized to play PF and a bit slow-footed to play SF, but the kid knows how to win. He can stretch the floor with great shooting and would become the second best passer on the Nuggets if they draft him. He showed remarkable leadership qualities and his desire to win is something the Nugs sorely need. Gave up in too many games last year. Green would never put forth a half-ass effort like some of the Denver games I saw last year. Just wondering what other thoughts you all had on him.

    • Daniel

      Draymond Green is a good option, but I don’t think he fits best with the Nuggets. Green does spread the ball around, but I think this team could use a quality post scoring option, not another player who will swing the ball. That’s why Nicholson is such a value for Denver.

    • Ryan

      Green is undersized and lacks explosive athletic ability, like Faried has. I see him being a bust in the NBA due to not having a position, he reminds me of Alando Tucker coming out of Wisconsin. There’s a reason Green stayed in college for 4 years, if you know what I mean…

  • DAN

    I too like Will Barton. From what I’ve seen he’s one of the best scorers in the country. I also love how he rebounds, rebounding is something that almost always translates from college to the pros so that’s a good sign. The knock on him his his slight frame apparently but I still like him.

  • http://DenverStiffs Nate Timmons – Denver Stiffs

    Kalen – this is an AWESOME write up! I think you have me sold on Nicholson, great work man.

    • Kalen

      Thanks Nate, appreciate it.

  • Gary

    This draft is loaded with PFs rated higher than Nicholson. No one I could find has him rated better than 23, with most at around 30. What will happen is that one of the higher rated PFs will slide down, and we’ll take that PF, not Nicholson. If so, who do you think may slide down to be available at 20, that you would take over Nicholson? Moultrie? Faried slid down farther than many thought, and that’s why he’s a Nugget.

    • Kalen

      We’ll do another Big Board here shortly that will detail that scenario. There are several guys, Moultrie included, that may drop and if that’s the case, the Nuggets could end up capitalizing.

  • DAN

    It’s funny all the love Jeremy Lamb as garnered. He has almost the same physical characteristic’s as Barton with less production and half the motor. I love the motor on this kid, if Faried has taught us anything it’s the important’s of heart. I really like him. So why is Lamb rated higher?

    • Kalen

      Tough to say. Probably a lot of factors. Lamb won a National Title, played in a much tougher conference, etc. I agree that the discrepancy shouldn’t be near as big as it currently is, but that’s just part of the deal it seems.

  • Guy

    I notice that all of the players you have on your big board are picked to go lower than #20 in most of the mocks that I’ve seen. A lot of people have talked about trading up to get a pick but what about trading down with say Boston or maybe an OKC which will need cash to sign Harden & Ibaka?? Another obvious option is to package the two 2nd round picks and move into the end of the 1st round. What do you think of the likelyhood of that scenario??
    I will have to say that Nicholson looked very impressive in the video I just looked at. Like the versatility in his game and he could be ready to play from day one.

    • Kalen

      Like I’ve said on Twitter, I’m beginning to warm up to the idea of trading for additional late, first-round picks rather than trading up. I’ll have an article on this early next week. Boston is a real option. Would be great to get back-to-back picks.

      • FinazzAus

        I like the idea of trading our two second round picks to the likes of okc or miami who will be trying to save cap $$$. But we can then take it a step better and then trade our 20th pick with chandler and possibility another player (KK, Moz, Anderson) to Toronto or Portland.
        This would give us pick 6 or 8 and pick 28 (nickolson) and have dumped chandlers contact. It might be hard to manager all of that but there is upsides to both of them trades for all parties involved.
        Thoughts????

        • Landry

          I think that the nuggets with Masai in command know that the nuggets have no actual team needs and will instead draft for players with a high ceiling rather than team needs seeing as GK doesn’t actually play rookies.

          The nuggs are essentially 3 deep at every position except guards. So seeing as this draft has a bunch of elite talent, I like your idea of having two occasions for a hit with Masai’s high risk, high reward style, If you want evidence look at, Javale(Biggest Knucklehead of the League), Stone(the dude is 6’6″), and J-Ham(How did this dude fall to 26??) because this kind of drafting strategy has a tendency to backfire. Assuming your plan come to fruition, I am extremely high on the prospects of Perry Jones III and Tony Worton Jr going to a coach like GK. Both are elite athletic talents with a need to learn from an elite coach and a hunger for playing time.

          Hate GK all you want but his strategy works. Look at Jordan Hamilton, he is putting in work as we speak. As the Nuggets clearly aren’t going to play the rookies with our old school coach at the helm I am higher on the more questionable prospects whom may fall rather than the “safe” prospects like Harrison Barnes or Jared Sullinger.

          However if the nuggs keep our draft position, Masai’s habit to choose for upside, I realistically see him drafting Royce White whom is the highest upside prospect whom like last year could fall into our laps like the Manimal last season.

  • DAN

    Kalen that sounds great. How would Nicholson and Barton sound? Guy, as for trading with the Thunder I wouldn’t want to do anything that would help them free up cap space. I’m hoping they wont have enough $ to sign both Harden and Ibaka.

    • FinazzAus

      I would love to see them not be able to sign both of them. But reality is that once you win a championship both player and gm find a way to keep the team together. Unless your surname is Cuban. If we don’t do that deal with them then another team will if okc are set on that path

    • Guy

      Good point. I wouldn’t want to help them either but I sure do like watching them (OKC) play. Even though I’m a Nugget fan part of me hopes they stay together just because their small market and they’ve been built the right way. Gotta respect what teams like the Spurs & the Thunder have accomplished, hope we can do the same.

  • steve

    White is dropping for me. I liked him at first but the kid has issues and no shot. now he supposedly said he wants drafted by Minnesota at 18 in the 1st? He was born in Minnesota. Does this have something to do with his fear of flying? Or was this just posted on hoopshype to scare other teams off? not sure. just think their are better options.

    I’ve always like Nicholson but have been hoping that Moultrie drops to 20. I think he’s perfect for us. Word on the street is he’s tearing up scouts and Pistons are really looking at him at 9.

    Barton ive liked as well. I’m a michigan college fan and watched him in the Maui this year. Barton shot was off that day and he was in foul trouble but you could tell waht his potential was. I also got to see him vs Louisville…yes the team that made final 4 and if this kid had any help in that game, memphis would have won. he put up 28 and 16 rbs…YES that stat is right. This kid is a beast and i like the comparison of Marshon Brooks. I think he will be a great scorer off the bench for us.

    • Gary

      Moultrie will drop if teams buy into suspect knees and a possible attitude problem, but if you watch some film on him, he loves to run and he’s definitely not undersized. So, that’s what’s crossing these fingers.

  • heykyleinsf

    I don’t like drafting for position.. but we’ll see.. If we had to draft for position though.. wouldn’t it obviously be C????

    • http://nugznazty.wordpress.com/ owen

      As weird as it sounds, C is maybe our deepest position now. Assuming McGee becomes a top 10 C, K2 is one of the better back ups in the league, then there’s the mozzy question. We need a big body down low now, not just long–someone who can bang. Draft banger PF!

      • ThomasDenverFan

        Who you got in mind??

  • Ricardo

    I have thought about the nuggets drafting Nicholson, but I do hope Moultrie falls to the nuggets. He would complement Faried very well. Moultrie could score from the inside and outside, he’s a good free-throw shooter, a great rebounder, and could defend multiple positions. He would be a great fit in the nuggets’ system because he runs the court like a guard.

    I would also like for the nuggets to trade their two second-round picks for a late first-round one to get John Jenkins. He is a pure shooter who could make a large amount of three-pointers in a game. Jenkins doesn’t need much room to shoot. He could also dunk the ball coming off a break. Jenkins barely turns the ball over. He could also hit shots with range late in games, which is the type of player the nuggets need right now.

  • Aaa

    I can’t complain much with your analysis. Whilst these guys aren’t my favourites they would all be good options. But you’ve really highlighted how deep this draft is and how many options we have. We could almost draft any position.

    I still like the idea of trading up into the top 10 and maybe using our second round picks plus KK or moz to get back into the late 1st. That way we could get a guy like perry jones and still get someone like Nicholson, wroten, miller or Barton.

    I like Nicholson and Barton but Royce white seems too similar to faired and chandler.

    Using out two second round picks to trade up makes sense.
    Assuming stone and McGee are back..
    Lawson/ stone
    Afflalo/ hamilton
    Gallo/ chandler/ brewer
    Faired/ big al
    McGee/ moz/ KK/ bird

    That leaves 2 roster spots with option of amnestimg bird. Miller and Fernandez are also FAs and we have 3 picks

    At pick 20 though my favourites in new particular order are Quincy miller, tony wroten, marquis teague, Terence jones, Terence Ross and arnett moultrie. Obviously some of they guys I mentioned are expected to fall to 20 but they are all possible.

    I just wanted your thoughts Kalen on trading up to pick 2 for Kidd gilchrist or brad beal since Charlotte are shopping the pick.
    (a) do we have the assets to get the pick without giving away Lawson, McGee, fairied or future first round picks.
    (b) would it be a good move

    • Aaa

      Sorry I meant to include Nicholson as a favourite at pick 20

    • steves

      I dont think there is anyway we move up into the top 5. We would need to give up a boatload. Supposedly the bobcats want Rudy Gay straight up for #2. That’s the rumor on the street.

      I think at most we could climb up into the early teens, maybe 14 by trading with the Rockets since they have 2 1st rd. This draft is so deep, you can get an impact player anywhere in top 20. I dont see a big difference in John Henson that could go #9 to Pistons and Nicholson at #20 to us. The fact that it would cost us chandler and 20 just to draft at 9…no thanks.

  • Denver4ever

    Kalen got it right! Nicholson should be Masai’s first priority and the one picked at no. 20 because of one reason – his post presence, something the Nuggets lacked in the 1st Rd vs the Lakers. Add to the point that he can block shots and shoot 3s means he’s definitely an upgrade to Al Harrington. If he works as hard as Faried, then he could earn playing from coach Karl. The downside is that Big Al could be a casualty of another Nuggets trade.

  • Slurm

    Someone already said it but draft whoever at number 20 but try to get a late first round early 2nd round pick to draft Jenkins. He is what we need.

    • Landry

      He may be a need, but unless he has elite defensive ability we are in store for another rookie hazing form GK…

    • Landry

      He may be a need, but unless he has elite defensive ability we are in store for another rookie hazing from GK…

    • Ryan

      Agreed. Or move up into the mid-teens and take Terrence Ross. Everyone seems to have forgotten that our biggest need is a deadly 3-point shooter who can spread the floor on offense.

  • Parker H.

    Like all of these guys you’ve mentioned if we stay at our current draft position. Though I’m usually weary to move up in a draft, I feel like this is the year to do so. We have lots of trading pieces, and we have, in my opinion, a glaring need at the 2 spot. I’d like to see the Nuggets trade up for Jeremy Lamb. The guy can light up the scoreboard, and is continuing to improve. One of his supposed weaknesses is his selfishness, but the Nuggets could use a little bit of that. I think Lamb has All Star potential, and he fills a role the Nuggets lack. We might be able to nab him at the 6 or 7 pick too.

  • Andrew

    Great job, Kalen!

    Yes to Nicholson, Moultrie and Barton.

    Not sold on White, Wroten, Miller or Green. Wroten, in particular, seems overrated to me. He seemed to really let UW down at times this year. I just think he is too inconsistent. Head? Heart? Whatever the reason, he’s a no.

    I actually hope the Nuggets make a deal to get a second first rounder and get two more guys.

  • ryanvdonk

    two undersized power forwards? we already have one, while these guys are definitely different types of players than manimal, they will still be at a big disadvantage on defense, considering two of the best 4s in the league play in our division (love and aldridge).

  • youngthegiant

    I actually think royce white is the best guy to pick. With miller most likely leaving, it wouldn’t be so bad to add a versatile passer like white at the pf position and for those saying he can’t defend the post…..he certainly can and he will be a nightmare to defend for any pf in the league. Another guy that is getting very overlooked is Tony Wroten, he might not be able to shoot but the guy can pass and with miller leaving we are going to need a good passer like Wroten. Take white at #20 and acquire a late 1st by moving #38 and Mozgov or Koufos. Obviously you take Teague over Wroten if he is there.

    Ty Lawson/Tony Wroten
    Arron Afflalo/Jordan Hamilton
    Danilo Gallinari/Wilson Chandler
    Kenneth Faried/Royce White
    Javale Mcgee/Timofey Mozgov

    • steve

      i definitely dont want wroten. i think he’s skilled and someday he may be good but i dont want to wait 2 years until he gets his act together. He’s not a mature PG and no one will GK give him the ball being that turnover prone. I think he compliments Ty well, but when we go to 2 PG system, Wroten would be primary ball handler as it allows Ty to play off the ball. Wroten is a work in progress and would rather draft a big man at this point.

      I like White but he seems like a big risk. No shot right now and with disorder? idk..i wouldnt be against it but i think Moultrie or Nicholson would be better options.

  • asdqqq

    I look for 4 things in a mid-round draft pick (or any draft pick, really). The first two are basically prerequisites for spending a mid first rounder.
    1. An elite ability. There are tons of guys with above average skills and well rounded skill sets available in the mid rounds. They are also available in the second round, in free agency, in the D-league, just about anywhere. They might turn out to be decent picks, but the league is cluttered with these guys playing roles or riding pine and seldom do they turn into stars. But the great picks, the hidden stars and key role players on championship contenders, usually have an elite skill that sets them apart. Last year, Faried was an elite rebounder and Hamilton an elite shooter and borderline elite rebounder for his position. Can we call Nicholson an elite shooter or just a good shooter? Ryan Andersen was and is an elite shooter.
    2. Not a defensive liability. This is basically about two things, physical limitations and effort. It’s just harder to build a team when you have to work around defensive liabilities. You are better off not creating that problem if you can help it.

    Once you’ve narrowed the pool with the above two considerations, the next two things help make the choice.
    3. Other talents and upside. Are they potentially elite in other areas? Do they bring some extra versatility to the table?
    4. All else equal, take a PG or C. This is an issue of scarcity. There are fewer quality NBA rotation PGs and Cs than there are wings and forwards. But the important things it that this is “all else equal.” You don’t get bonus points just for being a PG or C. It shouldn’t put a player above a superior prospect.

    So, my early analysis? Not in any particular order, these guys seem to fit the first two criteria:
    Marquis Teague. Elite speed and penetration. Not a defensive liability. A lot of upside as a distributor. A PG.
    Doron Lamb. Elite shooter. Not a defensive liability. A lot of upside as a scorer.
    Fab Melo. Elite shot blocker. Not a defensive liability. Deep upside, in the sense that he probably can’t contribute much any time soon but could be pretty good down the road. A C.
    Jeff Taylor. Elite defender. Obviously not a defensive liability. Not a huge amount of upside.

    Others I’m on the fence about:
    Tony Wroten Jr. Elite passer. Borderline defensive liability. An enigma here because he has elite defensive ability, but questionable effort.
    Josh Jenkins. Elite shooter. Borderline defensive liability. The exact opposite of Wroten, puts in the effort but may lack the lateral quickness needed to keep up with other wings.

    I’m not sure I see any elite ability in the guys Kalen has picked out here, but I’m open to convincing. If they are just good all around players, I’d pass on them and go for someone with an elite ability.

  • Ian

    I really don’t know what the Nuggets brass are going to this draft. Last year I thought we had a pretty deep team and the only two guys I liked beyond the top 5 (Shump and Faried) at least one managed to fall into our lap. I think the best idea would be (a) to bundle the picks with a player to move up, (b) trade the picks for future drafts where we might have more need than at present (c) draft players who we can stash overseas for a few seasons.

    That said, if we are going to be getting a guy to bring in I don’t think PF is really our most needed position. The Manimal should be locking down that position 35+ minutes a game. That said, if we get a PF to back up Manimal, hopefully it means less minutes for Harrington.

    I think a bigger need is three point shooting. Karl said it himself a few days ago in an interview – when the Nuggets hit their 3′s they MURDER teams. That’s partly why I’m pretty high on the Nuggets next year – we had a lot of good shooters become OK shooters, or start of slow. If Lawson, Gallo and AAA shoot a *little* better on the 3′s, we are going to be an elite team for a long time. I also like the chances of Hamilton being an efficient scorer.

    If its up to me: draft Jenkins. He’s the best shooter in the draft and its the most important thing for a NBA player to be good at.

    • asdqqq

      Pretty much agree, except I think I am higher on Doron Lamb than Jenkins. I think he is just as good a shooter, is definitely a better defender, and has more upside. Shump and Faried were my favorites in the draft last year too. I loved Faried and was so happy. I just love having a draft picks. So many years without one always made me sad.

      • Duuuuuuuude

        For me my choice of who is likely to be availabel is Doron Lamb – elite shooter that will strecth the floor for us, isn’t a weak defender and can handle the ball at times. Doesn’t make many mistakes.
        However I do believe Sullinger will fall. Over analysed to the extreme – the kid can score on the block, has some range and rebounds. Next to our seven footers he could provide low post scoring coming off the bench. I also would take a fly on Quincy Miller, Royce White or Terrence Ross. The likelihood is that, because SG is quite deep in this draft we should be able to pick up either Ross or Lamb at 20 and I believe they offer great value there as guys who can shoot the ball.

  • Aaa

    I still really like tony wroten. I know he can’t shoot but since everyone is so high on julyan stone (who is just as bad a shooter) as a backup then why not take a chance on someone this talented when we don’t have any glaring needs. I don’t want to draft a 22 year old Royce white who won’t play for 2 years and is closer to his ceiling.

    Wroten has rondo type potential with his natural ability to see passing lanes and to make tough passes and has the ability to be a terror on the defensive end.

    For those you question his maturity, Denver is a place where he will be forced to fall into line much like McGee has to an extent.

    Wrotens hectic style of game makes Denver his ideal fit as he shines in transition.

    I acknowledge we lack depth at PF but it’s not a need that needs to be addressed with faired and harrington, a power forward we draft ain’t getting minutes without an injury. Also expect gallo and chandler to play some a t the 4. We could target a 4 in second round for depth such as a jamychal green type

    Or maybe sign Craig brackins, the former first rounder who is not being resigned by the 76s and guess which draft prospect has been compared to him… None other than Andrew Nicholson

  • http://Denverstiffs.comSlader Richard Greenslade

    Nice work, Kalen, as usual! I am uncertain about the PF need for the reasons Aaa presents just above. If a real lottery guy slides into the high teens, we might want to trade 20+38 to move up a few notches. But I expect the bigs to climb, not slide – they usually do.
    Which means the real steals are more likely to come among the guards, after guys like Nicholson, Moultrie, Melo, White and even Ezeli start displacing smaller players in the 12-20 range. Could we nail Ross or Rivers at 20? Not out of the question IMO.
    That said, I would be tickled pink to get Moultrie at 20, Kevin Murphy at 38 and say William Buford at 50. We sure don’t need another 3 rookies on this young team, so Masai will have to package 8 or 9 guys and trade for Wilt the Stilt or Pistol Pete. Dynasty in 2014!

    • Duuuuuuuude

      Moultrie is the most overrated guy in this draft. I want teams to keep over rating him so that guards fall like you mentioned. Doron Lamb or Terrence Ross are real possibilities, the former more so than the latter, and we are desperate for guys like this to stretch the floor for our half-court offense.