OK, so after my naive draft euphoria, here is a bit of instant analysis on what Denver’s done thus far in the draft…
To start things off, Denver completed the rumored trade with Chicago, swapping pick 11 for picks 16 and 19.
Analysis: Great move. At that point there was still so much talent to be had. This draft is deep, and although Doug McDermott is intriguing, I’ve always had serious doubts about his athletic potential at the next level. If you’re a wing in the NBA you need to be a two-way player. McDermott gives good effort on defense, but simply does not possess the type of athleticism to contend with guys like LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony. So while McDermott may end up being a nice offensive talent, what you’d be losing on defense would greatly hinder his overall effect on his team.
At 16, Denver selected the No. 1 player on my Big Board, Jusuf Nurkic.
Analysis: Look, as I said on Twitter, I’m just a guy with a computer typing my thoughts on the NBA Draft. If I’m wrong about Nurkic, that’s perfectly fine with me. In no way have I scouted him extensively and in absolutely no way am I even remotely close to an expert on the NBA Draft. But of the guys who have scouted him extensively — guys like Jonothan Givony of DraftExpress.com and Tim Connolly and all the Nuggets execs — they love him! Givony has Nurkic ranked as the sixth best player in this entire draft and has had him going to the Nuggets for most of the year. Givony is also a guy who’s consistently ahead of the curve on international prospects and pinpointing underrated big men. So if you have a problem with Nurkic, I’d advise you to direct your furor towards Connelly and Givony (two guys who have certainly done their homework), not me.
Then, with the 19th pick, the Nuggets took the No. 3 player on my Big Board, Gary Harris.
Analysis: I don’t see how it gets any better, really. The Nuggets took Gary Harris, a near consensus steal amongst most Nuggets fans, and Nurkic right before him, a guy who checks out statistically as one of the top 10 players in the draft. This is a win-win situation for everybody. If you don’t like one, how can you complain about the other? In my eyes both of these players are steals. I’ve loved Gary Harris all year long. He’s been MY GUY all year long — until he was supplanted by Nurkic. But the fact the Nuggets got both of these guys?? I couldn’t have even imagined a better scenario entering this night. And again, perhaps I’m totally wrong about these two, but as of now, this draft looks like a massive success.
With what appears to be their last pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Denver Nuggets selected Nikola Jokic.
Analysis: I had Jokic ranked as my second favorite prospect on my amateur Big Board. I’ll admit that that proclamation was a complete shot in the dark, but I like this pick given Dinwidde was off the board. Jokic may never play in the NBA, but he’s got a lot of potential and great basketball IQ. The DraftExpress guys seem to like him a lot as well, and that’s plenty good for me.
Overall I’d say Denver had a very successful draft based on all the research I’ve done leading up to this night. Nurkic and Harris have consistently been ranked as top 15 players the entire year, so the fact Denver got them at 16 and 19 should please most fans. RMC will have much more analysis to come, so stay tuned!