With the NBA Draft set to take place on Thursday, June 26th, it’s time to look forward to some realistic options for the Denver Nuggets with the eleventh overall pick; that’s if Denver doesn’t strike gold in the lottery. Denver owns the right to their first-round pick (11th) and the New York Knicks first-round pick (12th), but will have to convey the least favorable pick circa the Andre Iguodala deal back in 12′. Via Chris Marlowe’s blog, the Nuggets will have a 0.8% percent chance at the first overall pick, 1.0% percent chance at the second overall, and a 1.2% percent chance at the third overall.
Denver dealt with an unfortunate 2013-14′ season, dealing with season-ending injuries to players like Danilo Gallinari JaVale McGee, Nate Robinson, J.J. Hickson while players like Ty Lawson, Wilson Chandler, and Darrell Arthur each dealt with injuries that sat them out for quite some time. It provided rookie head coach Brian Shaw with time to develop players that would have rarely seen the court with a healthy roster. For example, Quincy Miller. Miller was stashed at the end of Denver’s bench under coach George Karl during their 57-win season. He was given the chance to start games under Shaw with all of the injuries, scoring a career-high in points with 19 against the Houston Rockets back on 4/6.
And who can forget the emergence of center Timofey Mozgov with the absence of JaVale McGee and J.J. Hickson. Mozzy went on a rampage to end the season, including a 23 point, 29 rebound performance against the Golden State Warriors back on 4/10. In Denver’s last five regular season games, Mozgov averaged 16.8 points, 12.2 rebounds, 1.6 blocks, and shot 59.6% percent from the field.
With Denver’s entire roster expected to be ready for the opening of training camp, it’s time to look ahead and look at some realistic possibilities for the Nuggets at pick number 11. Here is what Denver’s current roster looks like as of today:
Point Guard: Ty Lawson – Nate Robinson
Shooting Guard: Randy Foye – Evan Fournier
Small Forward: Danilo Gallinari – Wilson Chandler – Quincy Miller
Power Forward: Kenneth Faried – J.J. Hickson – Darrell Arthur – Anthony Randolph
Center: Timofey Mozgov – JaVale McGee
Denver has currently two open roster spots stemming from the trade deadline when they acquired expiring contracts in Aaron Brooks from Houston in exchange for Jordan Hamilton and Jan Vesely from Washington for Andre Miller. Brian Shaw reiterated before the end of the season that he would like to keep three point guards on the roster to start the 2014-15′ campaign. Aaron Brooks said he would like to stay in Denver but he will have to likely wait until after the draft to find out his fate in resigning with the team. Denver also has the right’s to PG/SG Erick Green whom they selected in the second round of the 2013 NBA Draft. He was the NCAA’s leading scorer in 12-13′, averaging 25.0 points per game.
Garry Harris, (Michigan State) SG: Harris would be a perfect fit for the two-guard position for Denver. He is known as a prolific slasher and is solid on the defensive end. He averaged 16.7 points per game this season under Tom Izzo, hauling down 4.0 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game.
James Young, (Kentucky) SG/SF: Young is a bit of a risk but he has the potential to be a potent scorer. He averaged 14.3 points and 4.3 rebounds for Kentucky this past season but has his cons. His three-point percentage was down around 35.0% percent but scouts love the kid’s stroke.
Doug McDermott (Creighton) SF: McDermott is a high-basketball I.Q. guy which the Nuggets could benefit off of. He isn’t athletic like most of the top draft picks but he averaged 26.7 points per game his senior year at Creighton. McDermott could likely see himself as a scoring option off of the bench for Denver.
Tyler Ennis, (Syracuse) PG: Ennis wouldn’t necessarily need to score for Denver but could be valuable for his court vision. With Nate Robinson on the last year of his deal, this could be a chance for Ennis to develop under Ty Lawson. Ennis was a great table setter in his freshman year at Cuse’, averaging nearly six assists per game.
Nik Stauskas, (Michigan) SG: Stauskas could come into Denver and make a contribution right away. He’s like a clone of J.J. Redick but better. This past season with Michigan, he shot 44.0% percent from behind the arc while shooting 85.1% percent from the free-throw line (which Denver desperately needs).