It’s pretty safe to say that this upcoming draft is one of the most anticipated and hyped-up in recent memories. All NBA junkies are going crazy about the events that will transpire tonight, and honestly can you blame us?
Think about it there hasn’t been this much talent, unpredictability, and trade rumors involved with a draft in a long period of time. Draft ‘”experts” are calling the 2014 draft one of the deepest ever. Teams are uncertain about where to draft players or recent injuries to guys and the effect that has on that player’s stock. Finally, there’s teams who are considering trading players and picks in order to one make cap space for free agents like Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, or to receive a guy like Kevin Love in return.
For a basketball fan this is as good as it gets as far as drafts go. So what will the Denver Nuggets do on this spectacular night?
Denver is sitting in a pretty good situation Thursday night. They have the #11 overall pick as well as the 41st and 56th picks. All eyes tend to be on that number 11 pick and what the Nuggets will do when there name appears and the clock starts ticking.
As I see it the Nuggets have three possible scenarios they could look more in-depth in depending on how the domino effect that is the draft goes. They could trade up in the draft, trade down in the draft, or draft a player at the number 11 pick. Let’s take a look at how each scenario might play out:
1. If Joel Embiid or Julius Randle slide to the Kings at number 8, trade up!
If either of these two big men are available at number eight with the Sacramento Kings, the Nuggets should absolutely trade up, as the Kings have said they are willing to trade the 8th overall pick.
This is a perfect fit for both players no matter which one gets chosen. Both have drawn concern from some GM’s and owners regarding their recent foot injuries. If drafted by the Nuggets, they can slowly ease either player into professional basketball, as well as have them learn from one of the great young talent developers in head coach Brian Shaw. Both players possess superstar potential upside, and could be the biggest steals in the draft if a team can get ahold of them that late in the first round.
2. If a team proposes a good deal, then trade down
This is such a deep draft, so I’m not sure why teams would want the number 11 pick. Unless they really like a certain player, I see plenty of teams having options if guys are dropping off their board. That’s why the Nuggets should trade the pick if they hear a deal they think would be more beneficial than drafting in the number 11 spot.
Maybe a team like the Atlanta Hawks, Phoenix Suns, or Chicago Bulls would be interested in swapping positions. If the Nuggets were to draft later in the teens I expect them to draft one of the following players: Zach LaVine (6-6 point guard, UCLA) Gary Harris (6-5 shooting guard, Michigan State), Jusuf Nurkic (6-11 center, Bosnia), or James Young (6-8 small forward, Kentucky).
3. With the 11th pick in the 2014 draft, the Denver Nuggets select….
Nik Stauskas, 6-7 shooting guard, Michigan. If the Nuggets decide to stay at the number 11 spot and Stauskas is available I think the Nuggets would find it hard to pass on him.
Stauskas is a phenomenal shooter and one thing he can contribute right away is his shooting ability. If he has an open three he will certainly knock it down, and that’s something the Nuggets struggle to consistently do. He’s a decent athlete, but will need a good amount of work if he plans on guarding anybody in the NBA. He’s a good prospect and someone who can come in and contribute day one. He might be the safest guy the Nuggets have on their draft board.
Second Round selections:
41 pick: Thanasis Anteokounmpo (6-6 small forward, Greece)
Anteokounmpo will be a very challenging name for commentators to try and pronounce. He’s your typical international player: athletic and lengthy but needs work on his offensive game (and a lot of it honestly). However, Anteokounmpo is a great defender who has a 7-foot wingspan which allows him to cover a lot of ground especially against perimeter guys.
56 Pick: Khem Birch (6-9 power forward, UNLV)
Birch is another guy who is athletic and very good on the defensive end. Even though he’s only 6-9, he has a 7-foot wingspan which allows him to block shots and grab rebounds. He is just as skilled as a high schooler on the offensive end really only scoring when he has put backs or open layups off of penetration by somebody else.