Prospecting: Point guards with potential

One thing I’ve learned after years of following the NBA Draft is that as selection day approaches it’s always wise to prepare for the unexpected. Though the Nuggets have what appears to be a franchise point guard in Ty Lawson, selecting another point guard in the first round should obviously not be ruled out if the team sticks ardently to the Best Player Available strategy whenever their pick(s) arise. In fact, nabbing a floor general in the first 20 picks might just be the best decision Tim Connelly makes in his first full year as general manager, as there are several highly undervalued point guards — each with one elite skill — slated to be available within that range, which I analyze below in RMC’s latest Prospecting installment.

Tyler Ennis // 19 // 6-2 // PG // Syracuse

If Ennis was in the 2013 NBA Draft he’d likely have been a top-10 pick. Same goes for Elfrid Payton (seen below). That’s how awful last year’s draft was and how insanely deep it is this year. If you’re comfortable with conjecture (which, let’s be honest, we all are this time of year), then I don’t think it’s too outlandish to suggest there’s a legitimate chance both of the point guards in this post have better NBA careers than last year’s No. 1 pick, Anthony Bennett. That’s the level of disparity we’re talking about.

What makes Ennis so appealing is his court vision, plain and simple. It’s the best I’ve seen since Kendall Marshall in 2012. But unlike Marshall, Ennis is more of a complete package. He not only sees the floor like a spider (lots of eyes), he also has excellent height (close to 6-3 with shoes), length (6-7), solid athleticism and a decent shot for a pass-first, 19-year-old freshman. But what scouts and draft analysts seem to love more than anything is his poise. Many claim watching Ennis is tantamount to watching a 10-year NBA vet — which, in a weird way actually seems to have tainted his stock. Because these days, nobody wants to draft a youngster who plays like an old man. Steadiness is predictable. Poise is somewhat bland. In the age of instant gratification and CGI, people want to be wowed. They want springy athleticism, lightening-quick first steps, glass-shattering dunks. Which is fine and all. But last I checked Boris Diaw is still playing a vital role for a world champion Spurs team and Andre Miller is still top 10 all time in assists.

Conclusion: The Nuggets interviewed Ennis at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago and also brought him to Denver for a workout. You simply aren’t that inquisitive about someone unless you’re interested in signing that player to a contract. And this is good. I like Ennis — quite a bit, in fact. He has all the tools to succeed at the next level including the one elite skill (vision) that’s mandatory to be a starter in the NBA. If the Nuggets trade for picks 16 and 19 from the Bulls, there’s a good chance Ennis will still be on the board come the first selection (the Magic at pick 12 being the only other team in need of a point guard) as well as one of the aforementioned shooting guards covered in RMC’s previous Prospecting post at 19. And if that’s the case, Nuggets fans better start warming up to the idea of moving back, because landing two starting-caliber prospects in this draft is a deal that’s just too good to pass up.

Elfrid Payton // 20 // 6-4 // PG // Louisiana-Lafayette 

In every draft there’s always a consensus about several players who, for whatever reason, are underrated. Kenneth Faried was one of those players in 2011; Gorgui Dieng was one in 2013 (each being my No. 1 guy on their respective draft nights). And this year is no different. At least one player will be drafted much lower than he should be, and many believe that player is Elfrid Payton

Like most of the criminally undervalued prospects in the history of the NBA Draft, Payton comes from a smaller school and has one major flaw: shooting. If he was slightly better at stretching the floor (a seven or eight percent increase from downtown) I think he’d be a guaranteed top-10 pick. Because aside from his mercurial shooting touch, Payton has all the tools you could possibly want in a point guard. He has elite height, excellent vision, fantastic athleticism (for a point guard), youth (he’s insanely young for his class, having just turned 20 this past February) and best of all, a voracious appetite to shut down his opponent. Payton is truly one of the better defensive prospects not only in this draft, but in the last several drafts combined. Like all eminent defenders in the NBA, Payton displays a competitive fire to completely shut down his opponent. And with his physical tools and athleticism, he’s often more than capable of doing so.

Conclusion: Each year there are only a limited number of guys you can point to and say, without question, they’re gonna make it at the next level. Even as deep as this draft is there are still legitimate concerns with guys like Dario Saric, Joel Embiid and Doug McDermott — all slated to go before the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajun. But those concerns just do not exist with Payton — at least not from my vantage point. I truly believe he’s going to be a really good player at the next level. And that alone, that confidence, that’s exactly what you want when investing millions into a first-round lottery pick. Finding that assurance is exactly what all this reading and studying and analyzing is all about. So when you find it, given its rarity and importance to the franchise, you’d better think long and hard before letting it slip by in favor of somebody else.

One last point worth noting about Payton: Chad Ford is reporting the Magic are leaning more and more towards taking a power forward with the fourth pick in the draft then securing a point guard with their 12th selection. Knowing Rob Hennigan’s values (defense, leadership, smarts, all of which Payton excels at) I highly doubt he slips past the Magic at 12; therefore, if the Nuggets want him they’ll likely have to keep the 11th pick in order to obtain him without a trade.

(All embedded videos courtesy of DraftExpress.com)

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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.

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  • Heisenberg

    Not a big Ennis guy. He had a very strong supporting cast at Syracuse. At best he becomes a decent starting PG. Elfrid Payton, on the other hand, looks a lot like Rondo. I do kinda like Napier (after Payton, obviously). While a PG doesn’t seem likely, I wouldn’t mind trading Ty and seeing them take one. Don’t get me wrong, I like Ty, but considering how deep PG is today you need a point guard that can play defense.

    • CD Pascual

      Ty is untouchable and for a reason: He’s the best player in an injury-riddled Nuggets team last season and you want him gone? Reaching the playoffs is not only about defense, it’s about scoring. Ty has provided that year after year after year. And he’s expressed that he’s bought into Shaw’s philosophy and is motivated from missing the playoffs. Trading him away will signal dark years for this Nuggets team.

      • Heisenberg

        If the Nuggets can get decent value, sure. Defense wins championships. Ty is a decent PG but he isn’t an all star. His game will likely decline once he starts losing his speed. He’s going to be 27 next year. He has (likely) maybe 3 or 4 years of being an above average PG left. This team is headed for a full scale rebuild. The talent isn’t here. They are on the outside looking in for the playoffs next year assuming no major roster changes.

        It’s time to start the rebuild process. There’s no sense in keeping Ty around when they can get decent value for him. At best the Nuggets make the playoffs next year and get swept by the Spurs or Thunder. Unless the Nuggets miraculously convince LeBron to sign with Denver, it’s over.

        • CD Pascual

          Defense is nothing without offense. Becoming an all-star is more of a popularity contest and it’s very hard to become an all-star if you’re a Nugget. Too bad there are many good PGs in the West. Also, it isn’t Ty’s fault most of his talented teammates are injured, which hinders him from reaching that all-star status.

          And I don’t think that (at best) this Nuggets team will reach the playoffs and get “swept.” In fact, teams don’t just rebuild just to win in the playoffs, they re-tool. I thought the Nuggets did an okay job (if not decent) in the offseason in re-tooling their roster. Health wasn’t just on their side.

          I would love to have Payton on the Nuggets, but to give Lawson away for him is beyond awful. That’s how you get fired as a GM.

          And no, you don’t need to give up Lawson. to get Payton.

          • Heisenberg

            Try telling that first sentence to Thibs.

            Lawson isn’t even in the same class as Curry, CP3, or Westbrook. Lillard and Parker are also better. Conley is very solid as well. Ty is certainly not a top 5 PG and he’s (IMO) not top 10.

            And Josh and Tim did a terrible job, bringing in a bunch of journeymen.

            Teams that win in the playoffs typically have one or two top 30 players. Denver has none. Talent wise the roster has 45-50 wins. That would put them in the 7-8 seed range.

            We saw what happened to AI (who was miles above Lawson) once he lost his speed. He was done. Ty will be too once he hits his early to mid 30’s.

            • CD Pascual

              Oh sure I will. After all, Thibs’ defense-heavy philosophy has resulted to players becoming prone to serious injuries (Rose, Deng, Hinrich) and he doesn’t have a lot of offensive plays other than plays designed for Derrick Rose. The result: he gets booted out by a supposedly weaker Washington team. He can’t even win more than one playoff game against Miami with or w/out Rose.

              Lawson’s not top 10? Oh please. With the PGs you mentioned plus Irving and Wall, Lawson’s around top 9-10.

              Iggy left, that’s his decision and is out of Josh and Tim’s control. But to say that Robinson, Foye, Arthur, and Hickson did not all do a good job last season is very, very ignorant. Hickson was overplayed in a position he doesn’t fit (center) but he is VERY GOOD at the PF position. Darrell Arthur may be a terrible rebounder but he’s our only guy who can defend the PnR. And although Foye is a good trade chip, he’s still a valuable shooter he is best coming off the bench (it’s not his fault Shaw started him, and it’s not Foye’s fault that Fournier hasn’t been able to play well). Give them a healthy season, then you can judge them.

              You do realize AI is a 2-guard and Lawson isn’t, right? Lawson’s dream case is Tony Parker, and to see Parker still being quick at the age of 30+ is a reminder that Lawson is not “guaranteed” to lose his speed.

              • Aaron Durkin

                I could not agree with you more!!

              • Heisenberg

                Big surprise.

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

                Guys, we appreciate a little debate here and there but please remember to be respectful of your fellow fan and try to keep it on topic.

                Thanks.

              • CD Pascual

                I tried to edit my last comment so that it becomes good to read to anyone (although they might disagree). Sorry if I went too far with my choice of words.

              • Heisenberg

                Did you see what the Bulls roster was? Outside of Noah, the roster isn’t very good. Jimmy Butler was their second best player (decent, but not a game changer). Washington had much more talent. The talent wasn’t there to beat Miami. In their 2011 series all of the games (outside of Game 1) were pretty close. Thibs is a very solid coach.

                Not to mention Rondo and Rose (pending on what he comes back to). I’d also consider Ricky Rubio to be better, though it’s close (and mostly preferential).

                Hickson is awful defensively. At PF or C. They already have a PF that’s decent offensively and terrible on D in Faried. Foye and Arthur are both role players (or should be). Bringing in Nate Robinson made no sense as they already had Andre Miller (who was a more than capable backup). While I’m not the biggest Monta Ellis guy, it would have made much more sense to get him than these four.

                AI was like Lawson in that his game relied so much on speed. Parker is/was much better at finishing inside the paint than Lawson or AI.

              • CD Pascual

                Rubio hasn’t proven that he can make a jump shot consistently. He’s a better shooter than last season (statistically), but he’s still not a point guard who can lead a team to a lot of wins. Since his rookie year, Rondo has yet to play a full season without the Big Three, whom he got a lot of his assists from.

                Hickson was asked to guard a guy 3-5 inches taller than him in almost every game. That’s unfair if that isn’t your real position.

                Once again, Ty’s dream case is not AI. That’s like saying Kenneth Faried should play as a small forward because Kawhi Leonard has been rebounding the ball well.

              • Heisenberg

                Rubio is a solid “pure” PG and is a decent defender. Really it’s preferential, I give the nod to Rubio based on defense. It’s very close though. Rondo is just a better all around player than Ty. Outside of scoring, Rondo’s a better passer, rebounder, and defender. And in 60 (or so) games over the past two years the assist numbers have still been high, even with a washed up KG and no Ray Allen.

                Hickson has been terrible defensively his entire career, even when he played PF. While playing C may have magnified this issue to a degree, he still is a below average defender.

                At best Ty becomes a solid role player as he ages. It just doesn’t look great for him. Parker is much better at finishing in the paint than Ty, so him losing speed isn’t as detrimental. Sure, AI played a different position, but their styles and reliance on speed is similar. Lawson’s game is more similar to AI than to Parker. And funny (unrelated) about Faried, if he could shoot well he probably would play SF.

              • Cullen

                I don’t think Thibs defensive philosophy has gotten his players injured. Playing them ludicrious minutes, has, however lead those players to be injury prone. I’d rather play Thibs ball than scoring 110 a game but allowing 111 a game.

            • Cullen

              I guess the only situation I would be okay letting Lawson go is:

              1.) We draft Payton and he has an excellent start to the season.

              2.) We have a veteran back up. Brooks, preferably.

              3.) We get good value for Lawson.

              This trade would obviously have to be made during the season, but the more I’ve mulled it over the more I’ve liked it.

              Still really like Harris, though.

              I also disagree that this roster is complete garbage. We definitely don’t have a top 30 player, but we have a deeper bench then most. We just need to score some defensive players and/or a young top 20 potential player and I think we are on the right path.

              • Heisenberg

                The roster isn’t garbage, but it isn’t that great either. Lacks a star and defense. The Nuggets do have 8-9 legitimate NBA rotational players. Put a prime D-Wade in at SG and the Nuggets are a legit contender. As it stands now though, the roster is likely in the 8-10 range in the West.

        • Cullen

          Don’t get me wrong, I think Ty has a few years left of average to above average play. Yes, he is maybe a top top point guard. He does not play defense, which is bigger than offense. We need to focus on defense and rebuilding to have some defensive tenacity and focus. If we are a team that doesn’t have a top 5 player, which we won’t for some time, we need to buckle down and play defense.

          However, I don’t think trading Ty Lawson makes a lot of sense, though. We are rebuilding a roster and changing a philosophy, but we need to have talent and points in the mean time. I honestly do not think either Payton or Ennis would be a smart option to completely replace him at this point. I highly doubt the value we would get for him would be worth it. It is possible that if we can get great value for Lawson we should take it, but we should be very skeptical about what trade we take. I’m nervous to make a huge gamble on a mid-first round talent for one of the few players we know can play a huge role on this team.

          • CD Pascual

            Also, the Nuggets haven’t been very good in their gambles so far (best example is getting a 1-year rental of Iggy in exchange for Triple-A, Big Al and a first-round pick). And giving away Lawson just to get a turnover-prone player who can’t shoot and has no killer instinct (the reasons why Elfrid is found in the late first round) will definitely give the Nuggets a 25% chance to get a player who only has 50% chance to become a star.

          • Heisenberg

            Obviously the return matters. If they could get a top 7 pick (maybe Lakers) in this year’s draft I’d strongly consider it. Maybe if they got a solid developing player. With PG being so deep getting fair value doesn’t seem likely, but you never know until you put him on the block.

            • CD Pascual

              Why would a team give up their top 7 pick in this deep draft?

            • LBJ

              We would be more likely to get the King’s pick in a Lawson deal than the Laker’s pick.

      • sharkbait

        The point in trading Ty Lawson is that he’s the one player that will bring something back in return. Lawson is a good PG but he’s not untouchable or at least he shouldn’t be. If we could use him to trade up and get someone possibly better we should do so. Right now PG is the easiest position to fill so if we could get someone with more potential, especially at another position, we should do it and draft a PG farther down in the 1st round (see Payton, Ennis…)
        As long as Lawson is our best player we’re going nowhere. Take the rose colored glasses off.

        • CD Pascual

          The question is: do you really think we can get a lot of value by just giving away Lawson? Can the Nuggets really improve by how much we got from trading him? I don’t think so.

          When Ty’s around, the Nuggets have a chance of beating any team; without him, we’ll likely lose. Say what you want about him not reaching his full potential, but the fact that he’s improving, and PGs don’t decline until they’re around 34 years old. While there’s still around 6 years left, instead of giving Ty away, it’s a wiser move to acquire more pieces to help him, and that’s by getting a good starting caliber SG a la Trevor Ariza. And going back to what I said earlier, give this Nuggets roster a healthy season and we can finally judge Lawson correctly.

          • Heisenberg

            If we’re talking regular season, sure, Denver could probably beat any team on a given night. They won’t be able to consistently beat really good teams though. In a playoff series, quite frankly the Nuggets stand no chance against most of the West. Considering a 7-8 seed is likely the highest seed Denver can get, this team just can’t beat a team like SA, OKC, or even the Clippers in a 7 game series. All three of those teams would probably sweep Denver (maybe Denver steals one at home).

            I’m not sure how they can acquire talent when their only decent trade chips are (outside of Lawson, of course) their pick and Faried. This team blew it last offseason when they brought in 4 journeymen and signed Hickson to a terrible contract. McGee, Gallo (until he comes back and we get an idea where he is), and Hickson are untradeable. MAYBE (probably not) the Nuggets could talk Minnesota into trading Love for Faried, Gallo, the pick, and Mozzy but that still seems unlikely.

            • CD Pascual

              I’m guessing that Hickson’s defense and his inability to play the center position is the reason why 5million is a terrible contract. He’s only 25 and has to be played more at his natural position (PF). This notion that he is a bad defender (even at the PF position) is quite overblown (below-average but not “bad”). Also, Connelly had to get Foye because he’s the ONLY remaining piece to complete the Iggy trade (the Warriors would not want to give Klay or Brandon Rush) – he really did not have a choice. Connelly had to give Koufos away because he really can’t defend stretch 4s and is not a good fit for Shaw’s offense. And again, what if this Nuggets team is healthy? Note that the Nuggets managed to get 36 wins (could have been less) last season without Gallo and McGee. George Karl is gone, why should you count the Nuggets out when they reach the playoffs? This team (when HEALTHY) can play with the big teams fast or slow, and with that, they are capable of winning on the road.

              And I disagree that the Nuggets only trade chips are Ty, Faried, and their first round pick. JJ, Darell (who is not a journeyman), Foye, and NateRob are actually on good contracts, making them movable. That’s one of the reasons why Connelly signed them. He’ll probably won’t re-sign Brooks and Vesely, and he’ll be looking to find a taker for Randolph. Give Fournier and Q 1-2 more seasons to prove.

              • Heisenberg

                Nobody is trading for Hickson. Especially coming off a torn ACL. There’s a reason Portland allowed him to walk. His struggles defensively really hurt their rotations. The stats and eye test also support him being a pretty bad defender before he arrived in Denver.

                The Nuggets did not HAVE to agree to the Sign and Trade, they could (and should) have said no. That trade basically helped everyone except the Nuggets. If they wanted Foye, they could have gotten him for dirt cheap, as Utah was looking to get rid of him. The Lakers refused a sign and trade for Dwight, Denver should have done the same.

                Foye and NateRob are both role players. They aren’t nearly good enough to bring in a change in talent. Both suck eggs defensively.

                IF the Nuggets are healthy they still aren’t good enough to compete in the West. The value lost in Iggy and Karl makes a 50 win season a long shot at best. We have no idea what Gallo will even be like after not playing an NBA game in 18 months. They aren’t capable of beating the top teams in the West. You need stars to win in this league. Most contenders have at least one top 15 to 20 player and another top 30-40 guy.

                In addition to talent discrepancy, the biggest issue facing the Nuggets is that they just don’t match up well in a playoff series with any of the top teams in the West. Aldridge would massacre Faried. They have nobody capable of guarding Harden. And that isn’t even mentioning SA, OKC, and the Clips. Or Golden State for that matter. If Denver were a much better defensive team (and a better coach), they’d pose much more of a threat. As it currently stands, they’ll probably be in the lottery again next year.

              • CD Pascual

                Those are the exact statements why I heavily disagree.

                Hickson was also overplayed as a center in Portland but they don’t have a young center to help Aldridge. I don’t have to explain why it’s better for the Nuggets to make the sign and trade instead of leaving Iggy for nothing because it puts the Nuggets in a relatively better financial position. And Foye is a better defender than what you think. Going back to my last comment, it’s not his fault he had to start (and guard a lot of good 2-guards). That’s why he’s good to come off the bench. Houston hasn’t been able to dominate us, and they don’t have a bench player not named Lin.

                The Nuggets were in a rhythm until Lawson and NateRob started to get hurt, AND yet they still won 30+ games without Gallo and McGee. And it’s not like Gallo, McGee, and Hickson are not working hard to get back before next season starts. They’ll be fine.

                How was Houston able to get Harden? Because they did not give away their best player in the roster but by slowly getting assets that later on resulted to them getting Howard. It just happened that they narrowly missed the playoffs prior to getting Harden. But it’s still a reminder that the Nuggets DON’T NEED to give up their best player.

              • Heisenberg

                Hickson was known to be mediocre in Cleveland. It seems like we’re splitting hairs. You even admitted in an earlier post that he is below average defensively. The majority of the Iggy trade exception wasn’t even used, so how did it help the Nuggets financially? They should have made GS pay the full price. Foye is clearly below average defensively. The eye test and numerous statistics would support this statement. He’s a decent guy off the bench, but not what the Nuggets needed.

                McGee is a backup C. Gallo was certainly a solid contributor but we have no idea how good he’ll be. I’d guess that the Nuggets would be very satisfied if Gallo returned to 75-80% of what he was.

                The Houston-OKC trade was a terrible deal for OKC. They could have kept Harden for one more year, but traded him for financial reasons. Kevin Martin only played one year in OKC. I don’t know what else OKC was offered, but I bet they could’ve gotten a better package than what Houston gave them. Also there’s little chance Howard signs with Houston if Harden isn’t there.

              • CD Pascual

                The reason why we’re splitting hairs is because you seem to not know what’s the difference between “terrible” (that’s what you said in your previous comment) and “below-average.” He’s a solid player if played in the right position. You said Foye “sucks eggs” on defense = that clearly means Foye is an atrocious (that definitely does not mean “below-average”) defender. Stop playing safe. And I still would like to see Foye play more against bench players. Seeing him guarding starting-caliber 2-guards is the reason why his defensive stats have been pretty bad. He’s still on a good contract by the way given his productive year.

                Jeremy Lamb is expected to be at least make up for the loss Harden, he but hasn’t been able thus far but he’s still 22 and will improve. Steven Adams (the first round pick from the Harden trade) has the potential to replace Perkins as the starting center.

                It does not matter if the deal is terrible for OKC, the point is that Houston STILL got a deal to get Harden. OKC had too many players that were asking for a max contract, which they clearly can’t provide since they’re a small market team.

              • Heisenberg

                Hickson doesn’t rotate quickly enough, doesn’t block many shots, and doesn’t defend the post well. You can try and fluff it up all you like, he’s a bad defender plain and simple. If he wasn’t he would have received more money in free agency. Randy Foye isn’t much better.

              • CD Pascual

                Then your eyes are fooling you. In 27 mpg, Hickson has a defensive rating of 106 (league average is 106.7), which is pretty good despite playing a lot of games as a center. Hickson is a decent one-on-one defender. He just needs to learn team defensive concepts. Sure, 14.1% turnover rate is below the league average, but it’s not the definition of “way too much.” His FG% was only his lowest since his days with Sacramento. And yes, that HAD SOMETHING TO DO WITH PLAYING AS A CENTER. Hickson is a solid player, it isn’t his fault Shaw foolishly gave him more minutes than Darell and Moz (at center). Hickson showed his value in his final games His contract is just reasonable.

                And he’s only 25, but a lot of people are acting like he won’t improve.

              • Heisenberg

                Ugh, no use in continuing this argument. Your mind obviously isn’t changing. ESPN’s new Real Plus minus stat had Hickson at -0.61, placing him 72nd out of 81 at Center. Hickson having 1.9 turnovers per game is pretty high considering his position. You can sugar coat it all you want, but the majority of people who watched the Nuggets this year would tell you that Hickson was well below average. And since he also played Center at Portland that excuse for FG% doesn’t fly. The defensive issues have been with him throughout his entire career, at PF and C. My criticisms are entirely accurate. He really can’t defend the post well, doesn’t block shots, and doesn’t rotate quickly enough (which doesn’t show in stats).

                The Nuggets really didn’t need a player like Hickson. They already had Kenneth Faried who is pretty similar. Their rebounding was already really good, top 3 in the league. Considering what Ellis signed for, it would have been a much better option for the Nuggets to get him instead of Hickson and Foye.

              • CD Pascual

                And this snippet of your comment – ESPN’s new Real Plus minus stat had Hickson at -0.61, placing him 72nd out of 81 at “CENTER” – is just perfect.

                Hickson was signed to come off the bench (just like Randy Foye) and play as a PF but despite the unexpected season-ending injury to JaVale, it took a lot of games for Shaw to realize that Mozgov is worth being the starting center. But Shaw did not have a legit backup center, so he still played Hickson some minutes there (no wonder a lot of fans are calling for Shaw’s head, but what can he do? the roster was hit by 1,000 injuries). You still haven’t proven that your criticisms are not influenced with hate.

                The Nuggets MADE an attempt to sign Ellis, but for whatever reason, he chose Dallas. But it turns out, Ellis would not be a better option. Yes he’s a tad better defender and a much better scorer than Foye, but Foye is a better fit for the Nuggets’ point guards.

              • LBJ

                The sign and trade for Iggy put GSW in a better financial position. It does nothing for the Nuggets unless we use the $9 million TPE – which expires in a month.

              • CD Pascual

                The Nuggets got Foye – a good shooter on a good contract (who is best coming off the bench but was miscast as a starter).

              • LBJ

                I agree that Foye is a 15-20 mpg guy – any more is too much for a team with playoff aspirations.

                But the “sign and trade” deal did nothing to improve the nuggets financial position – unless we use our TPE.

          • sharkbait

            I agee with you that without Lawson this current roster will have a hard time winning. He’s a good PG but really no better than someone like Kyle Lowry. My point is that if we trade him for say Marcus Smart, Vonleh, or Gordon at the 6-8 spots we have a “chance” to get someone better and that’s really the only way the Nuggets get significantly better. It’s not that I just want to trade him but I don’t see any other way for the Nuggets to become a true contender. Somehow they’re going to have to get a couple of elite players to contend and unless they get extremely lucky picking 11-mid 20’s every year and this seems like the only way. You have to give something to get something if you’re a team like Denver.

    • Furious_Stylez

      Agree with your statement. After watching the videos listed above, it looks like Payton has an overall better game. He seems to possess the skills (defense) and attributes (height) that the Nuggets PG position desperately needs. None of the Ennis highlights were very impressive, probably due to (as you said) having such a strong supporting cast. He looks like a decent player, but nothing too exciting. I’d always rather draft a guy that had to make something out of nothing, and in this case, that’s Payton.

  • Andrew

    I would love to see the Nuggets pick up El Frid. They need a PG behind Ty that can play defense and distribute.

    • heykyleinsf

      I would be happy with this if we indeed trade back.. but not if we stay at 11.. I have more faith in Robinson and Brooks than I do any of our 2s. We already have an all star caliber PG. We don’t even have a starting caliber SG. So honestly.. I think PG is our last position of need. Payton is a special player.. but this year the draft is loaded with SGs unlike any year in memory. I’m generally all about BPA.. but I think that can be a SG and that’s what we need. If we trade back though.. would agree with you.

      • Heisenberg

        Brooks probably isn’t coming back. And no, Ty isn’t an all star caliber PG. That would require him being a top 5-6 PG. He’s a solid PG. That’s it. I would empty my life savings on NBA GM’s and Coaches (outside of Denver, of course) as putting Lawson outside the top 8 PG’s. Maybe he sneaks in at 9 or 10.

        If LaVine does go before 11 (outside the top 7, it’s a crapshoot on who will be picked next), Denver should strongly consider taking Payton. I’d rank them as LaVine > Payton > Young (for players that will be potentially available to Denver).

  • Ryan

    In my opinion, best case for LaVine is Gerald Green 2.0… Solid energy player off the bench at best. I just can’t see the star potential, based on his work at UCLA. Every year, there are workout wonders, but it’s tough to go all-in based on vertical jumps and wingspan. Some would even argue that LaVine was the 3rd-4th best player on UCLA this season. I understand the idea of trying to strike gold with the 11th pick based on potential, but it seems like there are much better options (Payton, Saric (possibly), Harris, Young) than LaVine…

    • heykyleinsf

      I agree Ryan…
      I don’t want LaVine unless some how he is a throw in.
      To go all in for him at 11..
      just strikes me as foolhardy.

    • Heisenberg

      LaVine’s ceiling is similar to Russell Westbrook. I can see the Green comparison. But honestly he has a much higher ceiling than Harris, who at best becomes a Tony Allen like player (maybe with a slightly better jumper). The Nuggets don’t need supplementary players, they need stars. This team needs to draft for long term potential. It also confuses me how people list Young as being better even though statistically LaVine had the stronger season (Young was a slightly better rebounder, but LaVine was better at everything else).

      I’m not saying LaVine will be Westbrook, but the potential is there.

      • Ryan

        Young averaged 14.3 ppg as well vs. 9.4 for LaVine. In the final four and national championship game, probably the two most important games of his college career, Young averaged 18.5 ppg and shot 42.6% from 3… seems like he rose to the occasion, which is something I look for in potential draft picks.

        LaVine’s stats: 9.4 ppg, 2.5 reb, 1.8 asst, 44% FG, 37.5% 3FG 69.1% FT…. What indicates that he will be a potential star in the NBA besides the fact that he has long arms and can jump high? I’m fine if we take him at 16 with the potential Bulls trade, but it seems like a waste at 11. You’re probably not getting a star at 11, at least get solid production instead of a bust…

        • Heisenberg

          Young shot 35% from 3. Also shot 40% from the floor, both lower than LaVine. So he played a little bit better toward the end of the tournament. Overall he was still worse than LaVine, and the SEC outside Kentucky and Florida was laughable.

    • Bryan

      College basketball isn’t a developmental league for the NBA like CFB is for the NFL.

      In some cases, it can actually be a hindrance for players. Ennis, for instance, is facing a lot of skepticism because he played at Syracuse which relies heavily on the zone, so its players have been notoriously bad at defense. On the other hand, there are plenty of guys who were studs in college who are nobodies in the league or end up in Europe.

      If your aspiration is to draft a guy who looks like he could blossom into a star, I’m not sure why you are advocating any of those guys. With the exception of Saric none of them really flash and Saric looks like he’ll be another Gallo to me (and that’s if he improves his shooting). And that’s if he even decides to come over to the NBA.

      If the Nuggets are going to gamble on the pick turning into a star, Lavine is the only guy with that potential that might be available when they pick. He’s an explosive athlete that can shoot and good physical traits (height, wingspan) and that is a solid foundation to build on.

      • Ryan

        Again, what evidence is there that he can “shoot”? 44% FG, 37.5% 3FG at the college level is rather pedestrian…

        • Heisenberg

          Young must suck then since he had 40% FG and 35% from 3.

        • Bryan

          From watching him. People who read Fournier’s stat line in France were bashing him after that pick was made too. Stats don’t show you as much as actually seeing a guy play.

          And I’ll reiterate this is not the NFL, college basketball isn’t a developmental system for future NBA players.

          • Ryan

            Fournier is still struggling in the NBA and looks like a bit role player, at best…

            • Bryan

              He struggled with the adjustment to a new coach and system as nearly everyone did. However, last year he contributed on a playoff team, even starting. Which is a far cry from being the waste of a pick so many lamented him as.