The NBA Finals are over, the champion has been crowned, and the city of San Antonio is still celebrating. But in 29 other cities around the country, focus is on the NBA draft.
Only a week away, the draft is sure to bring in all star talent, being the best draft class since 2003. The drama getting thicker too, since likely number one pick Joel Embiid is having surgery today to fix a stress fracture in his foot, and is sure to throw off everyone and have the teams scrambling to sure up their picks.
This being said, the Denver Nuggets have the 11th, 41st, and 56th picks in the draft. If they decide to tie any of these into a trade on draft day is uncertain, but if they don’t, this is how I see the draft going for the Nuggets.
Pick 11: Gary Harris, SG, Michigan State
The Nuggets don’t have a lot of needs this offseason, but Harris will fit the one they have at shooting guard. Brian Shaw is a defensive-minded coach, and that is exactly what this pick offers. Harris has the two way ability in a guard that was lacking last year. Randy Foye can hit the three, but his defensive ability isn’t there. Harris doesn’t have the offensive numbers that match up to other top draft picks, but he doesn’t have to since the Nuggets already have the ability to score, especially once Danilo Gallinari returns from injury.
The reason for drafting Harris isn’t for his scoring, even though he can score well from outside and in transition. He has the ability to defend, and great basketball IQ. He picks stuff up easily, which is great for the coaches that are trying to coach him, and it looks like he will be able to fit great into Shaw’s system. He averaged 16.7 points per game as well as 1.8 steals per game, the 19 year old will be a great pick by the Nuggets.
Pick 41: Spencer Dinwiddie, SG, Colorado
The only reason Dinwiddie slid this far was because of his ACL injury last year. He was on track to the the marquee player for the Buffs before he went down, taking them to #14 in the nation before his tear.
He is 6-foot-6, which is tall for that position, and he has good lateral speed, so he can be a good defender if coached well, but the reason for drafting him will be for his scoring ability. He is able to finish around the rim because of his size, and improved on his perimeter shooting as well.
The Nuggets will have to see if he can overcome his injury from last year, but if he plays like he did his sophomore season he will be a steal at 41.
Pick 56: Cameron Bairstow, PF/C, New Mexico
At this point in the draft the Nuggets will take the best still available. Bairstow could be that guy with his draft stock jumping after a great senior season. He averaged 20.4 points and 7.4 rebounds as he was able to break out, and he is able to shoot from outside. This is only one of many possibilities for the Nuggets to go at this point, but Bairstow would be a good pick at this late point in the draft.