Give the Denver Nuggets Tim Connelly five picks in the 40’s and we are certain he’ll build you a competitive NBA squad.
While the Denver Nuggets had no picks in the 2019 NBA Draft, held Thursday night in Brooklyn, they still managed to insert themselves in the conversation by trading cash and a second-round future pick to the Miami Heat for the draft rights to Bol Manute Bol, who the Heat drafted at 44.
There were many who considered Bol a first-round talent, mock drafts had Bol going in the 13-18 range in the first round. An issue that Denver has become intimate with, Bol missed all but 9 games for the Oregon Ducks with a foot injury. His deft outside touch and his length as a rim-protector are intriguing but like Michael Porter Jr. and Jarred Vanderbilt before him, everything hinges on his recovery and health.
Bol Manute Bol was born in Khartoum the son of former NBA player Manute Bol. He is the great-grandson of a Dinka chief. After an American bombing of the Sudan during their Second Civil War, the Sudanese government accused Manute of spying for the United States and forbade his family to travel to the USA. Bol was eventually able to get his family to Connecticut. At age seven, Bol Bol moved to Olathe Kansas where he began his high school career. That career would span four schools, ending at Findlay Prep in Nevada and would earn Bol McDonald’s All-American Status.
Bol committed to Oregon and coach Dana Altman. The highlight of his 9-game pre-injury stint with the Ducks was a 32-point 11-rebound gem in a loss to Texas Southern University. Bol Declared for the 2019 NBA draft in January.
For the Nuggets, the move adds a legitimate rim-protector to the ranks and allows Denver to mix-and-match with several lineup combinations that could prove tricky for opponents. It also creates uncertainty for the futures of Mason Plumlee and Thomas Welsh, should Bol prove healthy and worthy of the high praise he’s received. Denver could conceivably use Bol as the centerpiece of a second-team that would include Vanderbilt at the four, Will Barton at three, Malik Beasley at the shooting guard and Monte Morris running the point.
By itself, that frontcourt would be difficult for opponents to deal with, Vanderbilt and Bol providing interior defense, Barton can be a great defender, particularly with help in the lane.
More than just a defensive backstop, Bol averaged 21 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.7 blocks in his nine-game sampling. He shot an impressive 52% from beyond the arc.
Bol will have to get in the weight room and add to his 208-lb frame, think of Jazz star Rudy Gobert who plays around 245 but came into the league at 220. Bol will need to add weight to endure the rigors of NBA players and the extended season.
The Denver Nuggets have an incredible cache of high-quality players and once again have the ability to be patient with a presumed first-round talent. We had no expectations headed into this draft and Tim Connelly once again overachieved.
It’s hard not to see this team as a contender and we haven’t even hit free agency or summer league. Everything being equal and considering the Toronto Raptors championship we just witnessed, why not the Nuggets?