Well everyone, after weeks of writing, talking, listening and dreaming (a few nights ago I had a dream I was skiing with Marcus Smart and Tyler Ennis — not even kidding, sad as it is) the 2014 NBA Draft is finally upon us. It’s gonna be crazy, and I don’t know what’s gonna happen at this point given everything we’ve heard about the Nuggets, yet we’re certainly prepared here at RMC. But before we dive head first into draft night updates and analysis, I give you one last draft stand complete with an extremely naive big board, some sleepers and of course, rumors!
Big Board for players projected at pick No. 11
1. Jusuf Nurkic: The more I’ve learned about Nurkic, the more fascinated I’ve become. Statistically, he’s one of the top five players in the entire draft — numbers which he registered as a teenager playing against grown men in one of the most competitive basketball leagues in the world. DraftExpress.com has him ranked as the sixth(!) best player in this draft, which I simply can’t overlook.
2. Elfrid Payton: Taking a point guard with Ty Lawson still under contract for a few years may seem asinine, but drafting this high is all about BPA and Payton is just that. His height, athleticism, vision and penchant for playing lock-down defense are some of the most coveted characteristics in today’s NBA. I have a really hard time seeing how this kid even comes close to failing.
3. Gary Harris: I love Harris and will be ebullient if the Nuggets draft him. He’s probably the best fit of anybody we’ve talked about over the last month and still has upside considering how young he is for his class. I know a lot of people see him only as a role player at the next level, but I’m certainly not one. Harris has the DNA to be a Bradley Beal type of player in the NBA, complete with havoc-inducing defensive potential.
4. Dario Saric: His recent contractual revelations certainly taint his stock in my eyes. Though he may be one of the 10 most gifted players in this draft, waiting at least two years for his services is a lot to ask for, especially with the type of talent that will still be on the board when the Nuggets select.
5. Nik Stauskas: This is my dark horse. No, I’m not going out on a ledge in saying that (considering the Nuggets have been linked to him recently) but Stauskas has taken a back seat to so many guys over the last month and I’m not sure he deserves that. His shooting stroke will permit him a long and successful career in the NBA, while his underrated athleticism and IQ could make him a star.
Honorable mention: James Young, Doug McDermott, Tyler Ennis
Big Board for players projected in the second round
1. Damien Inglis: I’ve liked him since Day 1 and apparently so have others, as his stock has steamrolled leading up to the draft. His physical tools, defensive prowess and basketball IQ are off the charts for a projected second rounder.
2. Nikola Jokic: His versatility, touch and vision for a player his size are rare. Despite playing a moderate role in Europe, he’s tested out as one of the more statistically impressive players in the draft.
3. Walter Tavares: He’s huge… really huge. And though he’s a bit old for a second rounder (22), he only started playing ball a few years ago which should give you hope he could improve exponentially in the NBA.
4. Vasilije Micic: He has some of the best pure point-guard skills in the entire draft and his vision is close to elite. He’s also a hard worker who wants to play in the NBA sooner rather than later.
5. Thanasis Antetokounmpo: He’s a project, but one worth taking a shot on in the second round. His athleticism is freakish, as is his defensive potential. If he improves his skills and shooting technique he could be a steal.
Honorable mention: Jahii Carson, Joe Harris, Nick Johnson
Big Board for players projected between the Nuggets’ picks at 11 and 41 — or anywhere, really — who I feel are “sleepers”
1. Spencer Dinwiddie: If the Nuggets trade back in the draft, specifically with the Bulls, this kid should be one of their picks. I highly doubt he’s available at 41.
2. Kyle Anderson: Loved watching him play in college. There’s a spot for him in the NBA, I just don’t know where. I’d love to see him in powder blue and gold.
3. Jordan Adams: Statistically, one of the best. Many feel he’s THE sleeper in the draft. This dude will likely have a good, long career in the NBA.
4. Shabazz Napier: A criminally underrated prospect with elite scoring potential — and a bona fide winner to boot.
5. Mitch McGary: Another player I loved watching in college who has “sleeper” written all over him. He could be Kenneth Faried 2.0.
Nuggets discuss trading pick 11 for picks 16 and 19 from the Bulls, according to ESPN.com’s Chad Ford.
Nuggets inquire about trading Kenneth Faried, Wilson Chandler and pick 11 for Kevin Love, according to multiple outlets.
Nuggets rumored to have made promise to Dario Saric, according to CBSSports.com.
Nuggets would prefer to trade pick 11, according to Matt Moore of CBSSports.com.
Nuggets engaged in talks with the Magic about swapping pick 11 for Arron Afflalo, according to ESPN.com.
Nuggets have affinity for Nik Stauskas and Gary Harris, according to SportsIllustrated.com.
Nuggets fielding myriad calls for pick 11, according to Yahoo!Sports.com’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
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