3-on-3: Early NBA Draft forcast

With the NBA Draft Combine scheduled to kick off this week, the Draft Lottery taking place the following week and individual workouts to commence shortly thereafter, the time to talk 2014 NBA Draft has officially arrived. We’ll get into more detailed player analysis as the draft approaches (after all, we’re still six weeks away from June 26), but to get our draft coverage underway at Roundball Mining Company we offer first an appetizer — a piquant sampler of strategies and potential selections to watch for in the coming draft, all in 3-on-3 form. As always, we invite you to leave your input in the comments section below by posting your answers to the following questions as well.

1. What type of strategy do you expect from Tim Connelly on draft night and what will his first-round pick say about his legacy moving forward?

Kalen: Connelly has stated multiple times recently that he’s going to be aggressive this offseason. While I have no reason to disbelieve him, I’m also cognizant of how rare it is for teams to move back in the lottery. Given the lack of vacancy on the Nuggets roster, I could see Connelly using the team’s current first-round pick then trading the Nuggets’ two second-round picks away for future assets or a player to be named. But no matter how far he moves either way, this draft is going to serve as a template for the types of players Connelly covets — as well as his overall competence as a talent evaluator.

Charlie: I expect Connelly to be very aggressive on draft night, whether it’s using the Nuggets’ first lottery selection in a decade or making a splash via trade. Unlike last year’s No. 27 pick, essentially a throwaway first-rounder in a weak draft, Denver is holding onto a real asset with their late lottery selection (currently slated at No. 11). It is perhaps the most valuable tool the Nuggets can use to improve themselves this summer and a crucial test for the young Tim Connelly.

William: I fully expect Connelly to do his best to make the team as good as possible, as fast as possible. The chances of getting into the top three are fanciful at best, so I’m assuming the Nuggets will stay at No. 11 in the draft. Barring a complete demolition job this summer, this draft will be about finding a player that can contribute immediately and, 10 years from now, the Nuggets can be proud to tell other teams they stole in this draft. This is a big test for Connelly and co. They could get a Klay Thompson kind of guy (No. 11 in 2011) or an Acie Law (No. 11 in 2005) kind of guy. We can only wait and see.

2. Disregarding the BPA (Best Player Available) strategy, what skill set, asset or position (i.e. small forward, wing defender, shooter, etc.) do the Nuggets need most with their first pick in the draft?

Kalen: As currently constructed, the Nuggets aren’t really lacking anything definitive outside of a starting-caliber shooting guard. They could use more defense across the board, as well as another low-post threat and decent shooter, but most of those problems should be addressed when players that were injured this year return next year. The great thing about the Nuggets’ need for a legit shooting guard is that this draft is loaded with them, especially those slated to be drafted somewhere in the early to mid-teens. Quite honestly, I’d be a little surprised if the Nuggets didn’t select a shooting guard at No. 11.

Charlie: The obvious answer is a wing defender, a shooting specialist or perhaps a young point guard. But more than anything, the Nuggets just need impact players and more talent across the board. Denver is a team with no star and a well-paid core that is already peaking. Up to this point, Connelly has made it his number one priority to surround that with low-ceiling role players and veterans. The next step is for the Nuggets to create value with a legit prospect on a rookie deal — something they don’t currently have which might ultimately help them in the long term.

William: They need a guy who can shoot consistently, be able to defend (at least) and most of all, they need a smart player. Athletic, immature players are a dime a dozen these days, especially with the wretched one-and-done college system, so getting a player who has the smarts to develop beyond an impressive vertical jump or standing reach is paramount. With Mozgov and Faried complementing each other down low and the drive-happy Gallo and Lawson on the wings, a good, versatile shooter is a priority.

3. Which player slated by most mock drafts to go after No. 10 — as of right now — do you particularly like for the Nuggets and why?

Kalen: In years past, because the Nuggets always selected so far back in the first round, most of the really good players were already off the board and I could narrow down a small crop of prospects I liked to “My Guy” — the one player I liked far more than others. But this year is different. There’s at least a handful of players who could potentially be my guy. I’m not going to include Aaron Gordon or Dario Saric on this list (at least not now) because I think they’ll both be gone before the Nuggets’ select at 11; therefore, like Charlie and William, I’m going to select two other players: Gary Harris and James Young. To me, Harris should be “The Guy” Nuggets fans root for on draft night barring a slide by higher-ranked players. He’s a young, smart, athletic, two-way shooting guard who can stretch the floor, find the open man and lock down his opponent on defense. I really think Harris is going to be special at the next level. On the other hand, James Young is mostly in the same mold as Harris except even younger, but not quite as good on defense — though he certainly has the ability to be a good defender on the right team. To me, Young might have the most upside of all the talented two guards slated to drop in the mid-lottery.

Charlie: I am going to cheat and mention two players. The first is Gary Harris, a player almost certain to be there at 11 who looks like a safe bet and great fit in a number of ways. He reminds me of a hybrid Bradley Beal and Arron Afflalo, immediately bringing toughness on the perimeter which Shaw has openly pined for since the season ended. Harris also doesn’t need the ball, doesn’t turn it over and could develop into the catch-and-shoot threat the Nuggets lack. The second player is Dario Saric, the 6-10 Croatian forward who was pure hype and potential one year ago. It’s impossible to ignore what he did this season, dominating overseas and proving he’s an elite prospect with talent that rivals the best in the draft. He’s waffled in and out of the draft numerous times and is not a safe bet to come stateside right away, so falling out of the top 10 in a deep draft is a real possibility. If he slips to the Nuggets, the “best talent” mandate should make it very difficult to pass on a player of his caliber.

William: Two names have been floated a bit already: Gary Harris and Nik Stauskas. Harris is a very promising wing defender, with an NBA-ready body and the ability to put a few points on the board. Stauskas is a fantastic shooter, extremely driven (but not as volatile as Lance Stephenson, for example) and smart enough to become a good team defender. I’d be very happy to see either of them in powder blue (or canary gold). Every time I watched Stauskas this year, I was more and more impressed with the guy. But one player I’ve been warming on lately is Doug McDermott. He’d be the smartest player under 25 in the whole league as of opening night and would make a fantastic shooting guard. At 6-8 and able to score from anywhere, he could absolutely bully the preciously scarce field of good twos within two years. And if the shooting guard experiment doesn’t work out, you’ve got a very good small forward who could do stretches of tall ball at two or small ball at the four. If Cleveland haven’t taken him by 10, I’d be on McDermott like a hobo on a sandwich.

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Kalen Deremo

Kalen was born in Durango, CO, in 1988 and graduated from Metropolitan State University of Denver in 2013 with a degree in journalism. He's now an itinerant hoping to travel as much as possible before eventually succumbing to the "real world." Aside from writing Kalen likes movies, music, spicy food and the great outdoors. Edward Abbey is his current idol.
  • Len Nunes

    Being Canadian the homer vote goes for Stauskas.
    I will ask the experts here at Roundball, does Erick Green stand any “real” chance of cracking the 2014 roster?

    • http://www.roundballminingcompany.com/ Charlie

      I would say yes. The Nuggets need depth at the point guard position and it makes the most sense to bring in a young guy who can learn. Nate Robinson is only on a one year deal and the Nuggets are already placing too great a load on Ty Lawson. In my mind not having a young PG under Lawson is a huge mistake by Connelly. He just isn’t doing anything to protect against a Lawson injury and it already burned Denver last season.

      Green will finish up his one year deal with Siena soon, then be back in the states and presumably ready to join the Nuggets at Summer League. I’m hoping he shows enough to earn a spot on a crowded roster

      • heykyleinsf

        Reports from Italy have been tepid at best with Green’s development. He led the NCAA in scoring.. yet fell to the 2nd round.. and word is.. he isn’t finding his jumpshot.

        That’s not good.

        Even though Lawson is overworked.. I agree and worry about that.. but Robinson is on board for another year.. and Brooks was one of the few surprise bright spots this season.. He could be retained.
        So to use our best draft pick in 10 years on a player that might be lucky to get 12 minutes a game backing up our best player?
        While Foye is our starting 2? (oh please god no).. With Fours as shaky as he has been and Green not looking promising?

        Whoa. I hope you’re kidding me or I’m misunderstanding you.

    • William Weir

      I’m not too hopeful that Erick Green will make the Nuggets roster, for reasons Michael here has already laid out (shooting and passing), but I’m still holding out hope that Joffrey Lauvergne will show that he’s capable of holding down a Randolph-sized role, at the least, next year. He has more encouraging numbers coming out of Europe and fills a bigger need (literally) than Green.

      I’m also very interested to see what the Nugs will do with the two 2nd round picks. Whether they’ll use them to pick up players who’ll compete for a 15th roster spot or dangle them to trade for a player or a late-first round pick, or which direction is the most preferable one, I don’t know. I am a fan of using draft picks, though, instead of trading them away. At worst, you’ll have a training camp body and a hungry player keeping other non-guaranteed players honest.

  • Michael

    1. I believe we will keep our first round pick and most likely select a SG, Connelly said as much himself in an article in the Denver Post. I’m expecting Veseley to be let go along with Brooks (although I did like how he played and what he brought to the team, there just isn’t room for him). I also expect Randolph to be waived and for Hickson to be traded (mission impossible but if Tim manages to offload Hickson he’s had a win this off-season), I’m not sure if the Q. Miller experiment will end this off-season. Quincy may get an ultimatum to perform well in Summer League or look for a new team which I think would be perfectly fair, he had plenty of opportunities this year but just didn’t capitalize and he is holding up a valuable roster spot. If Gallo is back healthy, which looking at the vids of him draining trick shots and 3’s, looks very likely then I anticipate Chandler being traded and potentially holding onto Miller 1 more year.
    2/3. I’m on the Harris bandwagon at the moment however if he is unavailable I’d like to see them take a look at Hairston. Sure he had some off-court issues but he was smart and determined enough to get himself into the D-League and put up good numbers, he has good size/strength/athleticism for the position which is something we need, can shoot from the outside and although he may not be known as a great defender he has the tools to become a decent defender.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if the Nuggs hold onto at least their early second round pick to see if Bogdan Bogdanavich is still available when they select. I believe he would be high on the Nuggs radar considering he has played very well in Europe and the Nuggs should know better than anyone as they have last years 2nd rounder Joffrey Lauvergne on the team with him. The bonus of Bogdanavich is that he can stay overseas for another year or so until the Nuggs have room/need for him if required.
    The other players they may look at here are PG’s such as Spencer Dinwiddie (local connection, but the injury is a big detractor) or Semaj Christon if they are available.
    I don’t believe Erick Green has a great shot at making the roster, I wanted Denver to pick him in the draft last year but he just hasn’t shown enough in Euro League play and what he has shown is that he is a scoring/shooting guard that is a below average to poor 3 point shooter (33% in Euro League and 25% in Euro Cup play), along with only 1 assist per game while averaging around 11 ppg in a slender 6 foot 3 frame. I’m hoping Green can come over and have a good summer league performance with guys like Joffrey and our picks this year so we have some nice prospects to look forward to joining a revived roster next season.

    • Poz303

      I have read that Bogdanavich is considering signing a three year deal with his current club. So it does play into the second round stash pick that likely the Nuggets would look at.

      • Michael

        are you sure that wasn’t Bojan Bogdanavich? He was drafted by the Nets a couple of years ago and is looking to re-sign with his Turkish team (I think it is the same team the Izzet Turkyilmaz – our late second rounder from a couple of years ago, plays on).

        • Poz303

          Ahh, I think you are right.

  • Andrew

    1. The startegy others are talking about, using the pick for a SG, and then trying to make trades (inlcuding Hickson). I suspect he may try to move up, though, if there is a particular guy the organization is really zeroing in on. I’m guessing he would have to give up too much, though, so it won’t happen.
    2. So, I agree the Nuggets need an SG as discussed, but if were aren’t going by best available, I would hope he would go after one of the big PFs on the board. Then, he can circle back around and offer picks or players for one of the many SGs that look promising. This seems like a lot better strategy than getting an SG and trying to fill the need for the big PF that can defend.
    3. Harris, McDermott, Stauskas, Dinwiddie (he played point but I think he would be better at SG in NBA, assuming he recovers fully). The list of potentially very good SGs available after 10 is part of why I wonder if Connelly should try to trade up (if necessary) to get one of the few Big PFs available (Vonleh or other) and then circle back around and try to get a lower pick, as well, with a trade. Either that or go out and try to get AAA or another SG after the draft.

    • William Weir

      Interesting points. If they pick a PF like Vonleh they would still need a starter-quality SG and need to give up assets to get that draft pick. Would you, if you were Connelly, consider trading Faried (because lottery draft picks don’t come cheap, especially in a year like this) for that pick? Not to mention that to move up they might also have to give up assets. Who would you be ready to part with to get those picks?

      • Andrew

        Can I give up Hickson to trade up? Ha ha. Good question. Maybe Chandler? I’m pretty sure we could give him and 11 to move up, though I’m not sure how far…and that would probably be giving up too much, huh? Maybe next year’s 1st rounder could be used as bait? Most teams (and many fans here) seem to think the Nuggets will be in the lottery again next year. I think, with Gallo back, they’ll be back in the playoffs. Though only as a 7 or 8 probably, unless we get the guys we need in draft and trade…which is a pretty tall order.

    • Michael

      Remember we do have Joffrey Lauvergne, who led the Euroleague in rebounding and was part of the French Eurocup championship team, that could possibly come over this season. I acknowledge that Vonleh is most likely a better prospect, but how much better and at what cost? If we stay at 11 I think Connelly will select a SG that can play solid defense and stretch the floor.

      • Andrew

        Has he really been that good? I completely forgot about him. Is he a PF? He’s a 6’11”-7 footer, right?

        • Michael

          He has averaged close to a double-double and he is 6’10 or 6’11” IIRC. He can get up and down the floor well, has a high motor and is developing an outside shot (he shot mid 20’s% from 3 point range). I’m really hoping he can make it over for the Summer League, which shouldn’t be a problem as the only thing that kept him out last year was the French National team (which Fournier didn’t make by the way).

          • William Weir

            A worrying sign is that Lauvergne hasn’t been blocking a lot of shots, but that might be down to the different style of basketball played in Europe. And 11 and 8 for a whole season justifies at least looking at the guy, says I.

  • Poz303

    I think there is a pretty strong consensus that the Nuggets need an upgrade at our starting SG position. I think Foye would be great off the bench. I believe Fournier has potential, but not a starting caliber SG as of yet.

    So, my question would be, is there a SG in the draft (post 10th pick) that would be an immediate starter for the Nuggets? The answer to this question plays into the draft strategy.

    I am a believer that the FA market is where you address needs and the Draft is about BPA, however, these may not always be mutually exclusive philosophies.

    I am not sure that any SG that will be available for the Nuggets at their current pick position (assuming no luck in the lottery) is a future all-star. So do the Nuggets draft a very good, all round player like Gary Harris, or do they try move the pick to get a starting quality SG via a trade?
    Is there ANY player at the 11th pick that has future all-star potential? If the answer to that question is “No” then, I think the strategy has to be to move the pick to get a starting SG.

    Players to try and trade for would be (IMO) DeRozan, Hayward, K.Thompson, Beal, Stephenson, Hardaway Jr or Butler (maybe).
    Can we get one of these players with our 11th pick + player(s)? That’s where Connelly has to work his magic.

    • LBJ

      The nuggets aren’t getting Thompson, Hayward, Beal or DeRozan with the #11 pick.

      I’m just hoping Timmy can resist dealing the pick for Eric Gordon…..

      • Poz303

        I would agree but would be interesting to see what Connelly can do. 11th pick + Chandler + additional asset gets you… ?
        If we cant deal for a starting SG then I would say Nuggets keep the pick and draft PBA.

        • gimpcom187

          I think the best case scenario if they end up 11 is find a way to trade faried chandler and 11 for monroe and pistons at 8 getting vonleh.

          • mike gomez

            that’s too much for monroe, who cant play defends. plus i doubt the piston would want faried and then draft vonleh. they would have log jam in that position

            • gimpcom187

              Ummm it may not be enough for monroe. Hes an agile strong big with very good offensive skills. Al jefferson was mediocre on defense until he went to a good defensive coach. Vonleh is for the nuggets. They get the 8th pick. Hes athletic and has a shot so hed be a potentially good fit with monroe

    • heykyleinsf

      I like all you said and agree for the most part..
      but I think a healthy dose of patience is necessary…
      It’s a pretty rare thing around here..

      The Nuggets aren’t the Broncos.
      They’re not needing just one player to start scaring
      the Spurs and Thunder…
      They need to grow a group of players.

      I would hate to see us not use our draft pick for
      a trade. You get a veteran good for a limited time.
      We’re not there yet.
      We need a kid out of college to grow along with the rest of these guys.

      Gary Harris would suit me fine.

  • wordcat

    Kalen thinks the Nuggets aren’t lacking anything but a shooting guard.
    Hilarious take. Wake up, Kalen.

    • heykyleinsf

      PG set
      PF set
      C .. we’ll see with Javale and Mozzy should be set
      SF .. Gallo…

      Yeah. Wake up wordcat.. Kalen is right.

  • Len Nunes

    remember last summer when Monta Ellis was linked to the Nuggets as a free agent. At the time I was against a guy who “needs” the ball so much to be effective but in hindsight, I wish the Nugs would have got him. Not saying the Nugs would be drafting a different position this draft but the philosophy would be completely different.

    • heykyleinsf

      couldn’t agree more.
      We got Foye instead.
      Who wants to disagree with Len?
      Yeah.. thought so..
      I remember all the people against bringing Ellis in.

      All these people that only think defense..
      how is a one-sided player on defense any better
      than a one–sided player on offense?

      I mean.. do something.
      Foye..
      yeah.
      Neither.

    • Heisenberg

      In all honesty, Ellis wouldn’t have changed much. He’s decent, but I’d rather have Iggy. This team looks like it may be in full rebuild mode soon, anyway.

      I know people hate Iggy, but he was very valuable. Solid offensively and stellar on defense. It’s clear they are quite a bit worse without him.

  • heykyleinsf

    Looking like carbon copy of last year’s four teams.
    You see.. THIS is why I’m not freaking out about Shaw.
    This is why I’m a Nuggets fan win, lose or draw.
    That ridiculous out of bounds call against the Clippers
    was too stupid to ignore the possibility that the game is rigged.
    And then there’s this…

    Since 1980, every NBA Finals has involved at least one of the following teams: Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, or San Antonio Spurs.

    34 years straight and easily looking like 35 now.

    Additionally, in that span, every NBA Finals has involved at least one of the following eight players: Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Isiah Thomas, Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, Tim Duncan,Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, or LeBron James. Furthermore, in that span, at least one of the following 8 head coaches have been involved in every Finals: Billy Cunningham,Bill Fitch, Pat Riley, Chuck Daly, Phil Jackson, Rudy Tomjanovich, Gregg Popovich, or Erik Spoelstra.

    All of this outrage over Shaw.

    LOL!! It’s your life dudes.

    • Rupert

      That call the other night was the right call. If you’re the Clippers, would you rather have the guy going to the line for 2 shots or taking the ball out of bounds. Jackson was clearly fouled and thats why the ball went out on him. At least the Clips had a hance to play defense rather than watching Jackso shoot two free throws. They made the exact same call the followig night. The ball was clearly out on ierce but LeBron didn’t even argue the call because he knew he slapped the crap out of Pierce’s arm.
      The NBA has a bit of a shady history but that call the other night was no conspiracy.

      • heykyleinsf

        I don’t know how you could look at this video and think that. not only did Jackson fumble that ball with his untouched right hand… He did this flop crap. Disgusting. I like Durant.. but hate Westbrook with a passion and now.. can’t stand Jackson either. Lose Thunder lose.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2CoiBaTb5k