As the NBA Draft Lottery was being displayed, Denver Nuggets fans were holding their breaths hoping for a miracle that somehow Denver would find themselves into the top three. Then an exhale of disappointment came when the Nuggets’ name showed up on the number 11 pick line. While the Nuggets didn’t get the luck of the draw, there should be no feelings of let down.
While Nuggets fans weren’t to happy with the season’s results, it’s not a bad year to have a high draft pick, because this draft class is loaded, some going as far to say it’s the deepest draft in years. Being such a deep draft, it will be hard for Tim Connelly to “miss” with his picks.
Yet this is an important draft for Connelly as it’s his first as Nuggets GM (as they traded their first and only draft pick last year to the Utah Jazz). The draft has been something the Nuggets haven’t necessarily struck gold with over the years, either trading their picks or running out of patience on a guy. How the NBA is today, Denver is not a prime location to lure free agents, so the Nuggets have to score with draft picks if they are to continue to compete for playoff positions in future seasons.
The Nuggets have three picks in the 2014 NBA draft; 11th, 41st, and 56th. The Nuggets haven’t had a pick under the first 20 since 2003 when they drafted Carmelo Anthony. The Nuggets are in desperate need of a true consistent scorer, a wing defender and another big man for depth. Here are a few names the Nuggets will consider to fill those needs for each round.
Dario Saric, Croatia Cibona Zagreb, Small Forward/Power Forward, 6-10, 223:
Most scouts aren’t sure if he fits better at small or power forward. He’s an excellent passer and can handle the ball well for his size. An unproven perimeter shooter, Saric struggles defensively against guys who want to play physical with him. He has also said he will return to Croatia if not drafted by the right team, which according to whispers is only the Boston Celtics or Los Angles Lakers.
Gary Harris, Michigan St, Shooting Guard, 6-4, 205:
He’s short for a shooting guard but is a great scorer and can create his own shot. Can handle the ball well for a two guard as well. He played hurt most of last year so health could cause some concern.
Nik Stauskas, Michigan, Shooting Guard, 6-6, 207:
One thing Stauskas can do is knock down an open shot. There aren’t many people in this draft that can shoot the ball better than Nik can and he enjoys the ball in his hands for a big shot. A decent ball handler and is able to be effective off the pick and roll. Has to prove he can defend NBA players if he wants to become a star. Might be the safest pick out of the three.
Russ Smith, Louisville, Point Guard, 6-0, 165:
Smith wouldn’t be defined as a true point guard, more so a guy who can score that can handle the ball. Can score the ball in unique ways and plays good defense for his small size. He’s not nearly as talented, but think of Smith as an Allen Iverson type of player. A team won’t be disappointed to draft a guy like Russ Smith
LeBryan Nash, Oklahoma State, Shooting Guard/Small Forward, 6-7, 235:
Nash never became the player most thought he would when he entered Stillwater, but he still has all the physical attributes that will attract NBA scouts. Doesn’t have one aspect of his game he does particularly well, but with the right coaching development could become a second round steal.
Patric Young, Florida, Power Forward-Center, 6-10 ,240:
Most didn’t expect Young to stay all four years at Florida which could hurt his NBA career. Has the size to become a solid big man defensively, but needs to work on his offensive game specifically when he gets the ball outside of the low block. His wing span could cause his stock to drop. Scouts are comparing him to a Carl Landry type player.
The Draft is scheduled for June 26th and there is still individual workouts for teams to be completed. This list may change in the coming weeks but expect these names to be on the Nuggets draft board.