The NBA Draft is almost here because we are only one day away from one of the most anticipated days of the off-season. This draft is particularly exciting from the Nuggets’ point of view as they now have two first-round picks after trading with the Oklahoma City Thunder last week.
Denver can do a lot on Thursday night as they can stick around and pick either spot, swap up or down, or even attach a pick and swap it with one of their players already on the roster. If the Nuggets stick and choose, the experts seem to have different options as to what the Nuggets might do. Some mocks have them take a point guard, while others mocks have them target a more defensive player, which is something the Nuggets definitely need to add to their roster.
Let’s dive into what the experts expect from the Nuggets. Each pick will include what the selection is and I will follow up on whether or not I believe that player is suitable for Denver.
Jonathan Givony, NBA Draft Analyst at ESPN
21st choice: Dalen Terry, PG / SG, Arizona
Analyses: Terry has turned into a pretty solid target for the Nuggets and a big reason is what he can do on the defensive end of the floor. For a team looking to add a block defender, Terry could do it from day one and could still improve as he’s only 19.
Not only is he a great defender, but Terry is arguably the best passer in this draft class and does a lot of his work in transition. Terry is a very solid cutter and would be perfectly suited to an attack by the Nuggets which emphasizes a lot of movement towards the basket. Where Terry fights is as a scorer, but this is an area of the game of him that will hopefully improve to the next level. This would be a solid choice if Terry really were the draft night selection.
Dalen Terry draft profile
30th choice: Christian Braun, SG / SF, Kansas
Analyses: This would be another really solid choice of the Nuggets and would give them something slightly different than Terry’s choice. Like Terry, Braun could be a really solid defender to the next level and an off-the-ball scorer who has loads of advantages on both sides of the ball. The thing I also like about Braun is that he’s gotten a little mean to him playing him with the personality he plays with. That dog mentality is something you always want to add to your team and Braun would carry it from the moment he walks in the door.
Christian Braun profile draft
Sam Vecenie of The Athletic
21st choice: Blake Wesley, Guard, Notre Dame
Analyses: Wesley is a fantastic pick-and-roll player and does a lot of his damage this way on the offensive end of the floor. Not only can he create for himself and his teammates, but Wesley can also score the ball quite efficiently as he averaged 14.4 points per game in his he only season at Notre Dame.
Where Wesley could put the most value on the Nuggets is his perimeter defense, which was a staple of his game during his freshman season with the Irish. I’m not sure if Wesley is the best choice for the Nuggets and there are other prospects I would put ahead of him in the Denver draft board, but he certainly wouldn’t be a bad choice in any way.
Blake Wesley draft profile
30th choice: Andrew Nembhard, point guard, Gonzaga
Analyses: Nembhard is a name that has a lot of smoke around him and his connection to the Nuggets. After training in Denver last week, Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer came out with an article and said this about the Nuggets and Nembhard:
“With Denver acquiring pick number 30, league sources expect the Nuggets to target a point guard like Gonzaga ball manager Andrew Nembhard. Denver has involved various teams in commercial conversations regarding Monte Morris, the robust reserve point guard who has replaced Jamal Murray as starter for the season. “
It wouldn’t shock me if the Nuggets targeted Nembhard if they moved from Mount Morris. During his time at the Gonzagas, Nembhard has steadily improved and is someone who could contribute to the Nuggets right away. Nembhard’s field vision coupled with his ability to shoot and play defensively would make him a plug and play option in the Nuggets rotation.
Jonathan Wasserman, Lead Scout and NBA Draft Analyst at Bleacher Report
21st choice: Marjon Beauchamp, small forward, G League Ignite
Analyses: This is becoming one of the most popular choices among Nuggets fans, so it’s great to see one of the experts connect the dots between Beauchamp and Denver. Beauchamp worked for the Nuggets on Monday and seemed to impress the Nuggets front office as a player that he could step in right away and hopefully contribute as early as next season.
Beauchamp could be the block defender the Nuggets are looking for on the perimeter and he also has some offensive advantage. While he struggled to shoot the ball at times last season, you can tell that Beauchamp worked on that part of the game as he prepared for the draft and he really seems to have improved.
Not only could Beauchamp become a pretty solid shooter to the next level, but he’s already a fantastic cutter doing a lot of his damage near the edge. If that doesn’t sound like a player who would fit in perfectly with the Nuggets, I don’t know who will.
Marjon Beauchamp draft profile
30th choice: Kennedy Chandler, Point Guard, Tennessee
Analyses: This is my first time seeing Chandler mocked by the Nuggets and honestly it wouldn’t be terrible value here at 30th pick. At just 19, Chandler is one of the younger prospects in this year’s draft and comes with a ton of perks. Chandler gives his best when he runs the show because he does a great job of getting the ball to his teammates and he can also score from anywhere on the pitch.
The biggest question mark I would have with this pick is that it looks like the Nuggets would like to add an experienced point guard if they move away from Mount Morris. This points more in the direction of drafting an older, more seasoned perspective like Nembhard, as mentioned above. There is no question that Chandler would have tremendous value for the Nuggets in 30th place overall and may be too good to let it go.
John Hollinger of The Athletic
21st choice: TyTy Washington, point guard, Kentucky
Analyses: Washington he is a player who has consistently appeared in fictional drafts for the Nuggets and is frankly one I don’t understand. Do I think Washington has the skills to be a solid NBA player? Yes, but I don’t think he fits what the Nuggets are looking for right now.
Adding Washington would almost certainly have ended the Monte Morris era in Denver and I just don’t think you’re getting better by replacing the two. Sure, Washington is a lot cheaper than Morris, but at just 6’3 ”, 195 points I’m not sure the Kentucky guard is what the Nuggets need after all the little guards they’ve added in recent seasons.
30th choice: Nikola Jovic, forward, Mega Basket
Analyses: Now this is a selection I can get behind and it would be phenomenal to get Jovic at the end of the first round. Not only would it be a great story considering that Jovic has an almost identical name to MVP Nikola Jokic, but he also played for the same Mega Basketball team that the big Denver superstar played in Serbia.
Jovic could definitely give the Nuggets some juice in attack next season, but his defense is the area of his game that needs the most improvement. It might be hard for Jovic to find a pivot point next year, but with a little NBA coaching he could definitely be a solid contribution to the Nuggets along the way.
Nikola Jovic profile draft
Kevin O’Conner in The Ringer
21st choice: Malaki Branham, Guard, State of Ohio
Analyses: Branham enters the draft after a really solid freshman season at Ohio State and at just 19, he has a ton of advantages for any team that enlists him. It looks like Branham is usually gone when the Nuggets are on the lookout in most of the fictional drafts and he’d make a pretty cool selection if he drops to 21.
Not only can Branham score the ball in clusters from all over the floor, but he’s also a pretty solid ball defender. Branham would definitely help the Nuggets on defense and give them another bucket that they could either mate with the starting lineup or take off the bench.
Another interesting note about O’Conner’s mock draft is that he mentioned the Nuggets as a team looking to move up in the draft after acquiring the 30th overall pick:
“After acquiring the 30th pick for JaMychal Green and a future first pick from the Thunder, the Nuggets are looking to pack this pick with the 30th pick to go up in the middle of round one. It’s probably not enough, unless Denver is willing to add a young player or a future resource. “
30th pick: Jake LaRavia, forward, Forest alarm clock
Analyses: This is a player that I would absolutely love for the Nuggets to add to their roster. Whether they hire LaRavia at 21 or 30 doesn’t matter, put this guy on your list and good things will happen. The Nuggets actually hosted LaRavia for a training session just a few weeks ago, where he showed off a pretty special shot for a player his size.
LaRavia is a hard-nosed player who will do all the little things right and will make the hustle and bustle for your team to succeed. Offensively, LaRavia could be a shooter to land and is also very good at cutting into the basket and finishing close to the edge. As for his defense, LaRavia always competes and was a very solid defender on the ball during his time at Wake Forest. LaRavia would make a fantastic addition to the Nuggets’ roster.
Scouting report by Jake LaRavia
Those obviously aren’t all the fictional expert drafts out there, but they’re definitely the ones that stand out the most. The most important theme of all of them is, regardless of choice, 21 or 30: all the Nuggets selected different perspectives.
The talent pool that the Nuggets have to choose from is pretty rich and there are tons of ways they could do it if they made both selections tomorrow night. Regardless of what happens, hopefully the Nuggets will find the right two players who could come in and help this team push for something they have never achieved before, a championship.