This will be the first installment in a hopefully long series of installments about the draft. As you probably know, the Nuggets don't have a first round pick. In fact, we don't even have a pick at all! Now, at first that may seem like a big problem and may cause some people to panic (including me for about a second), but heed this:
The Nuggets have a rather cunning Front Office, and while it is true that they don't really do a whole lot compared to some other GMs, we can usually rely on them to make the right decision at the right time. A great example was the trade that we used to get Lawson last season, and I think that we could look at trading into the first round this season too to nab a good player.
Now, you might wonder "who could we trade"? That is not the issue for now, and I'll address that later. For the first couple of installments, I'll just give player descriptions and my opinion as to the guys that we should get.
I'll start off by supposing that we will trade into picks 15-20 like we did last season. If we do so, then the first person I'd like to see us get is Hassan Whiteside. The basic measurements show that he is 7'0" and 235 lbs, the average size for a very skinny NBA starting center (however, we have this guy named Steve Hess that could add another 15-20 lbs. of bulk to his frame). While I don't believe in highlight reels (as they only show his positives), I'll start off with that for him.
He is an athletic seven-foot freshman from Marshall, and he has drawn comparisons to Marcus Camby. Before you rattle off all the crap about Marcus Camby and how he can't shoot and how he gambled too much on defense and how he wasn't a good man-to-man defender, remember that Camby was, and still is, an above average starting center.
Offense: Hassan Whiteside is rather raw offensively, and while he has shown potential in knocking down those 20-foot jumpers, he hasn't done so consistently enough during his freshman season for that to be much of a threat. His athleticism has led him to be very boisterous around the basket, but he isn't very good at finishing tough layups, and needs more of a post-game to be a legit NBA starting center. However, he has the physical tools to succeed, and while he will need several years to fully develop, the Nuggets are a team with that luxury.
Defense: Hassan Whiteside is a good defender, no matter how you look at it. He led the nation in blocked shots, but he doesn't gamble too much and his crazy, 7'7" wingspan allows him to get blocks without having to lose post position. He has the athleticism of many NBA power forwards, but he also has decent fundamentals. His main weakness is in pick-and-roll situations, and sometimes he looks a bit queasy when he's pulled out to the perimeter on a bad switch or a jump-shooting opposing big, but that will get fixed with experience. The Nuggets as a team are HORRIBLE at defending the pick-and-roll, so it's not like he's going to make us any worse.
Rebounding: I know that this kinda goes into the defense catagory, but I've decided to make this its own catagory because he's just so damn good at it. He has a good work ethic and shows good effort, which is half of what one needs to be a good rebounder. Although he's too skinny and sometimes gets pushed out of position by opposing bigs, his length allows him to grab some of those longer rebounds, and on offensive rebounds he almost always goes for the putback (a la Tyson Chandler). He has strong hands, so he doesn't turn the ball over a whole lot.
The biggest question about him is not if he's going to fulfill his potential (with this team, he will). The biggest question is how long it's going to take him, and whether his skills in college will translate to the NBA. Since he played for a small school (and thus I don't really have any footage of him), he didn't play against players with the size of NBA centers. However, as mentioned before, he has a good work ethic, and I'm sure that by the time Nene's contract expires, he'll be more than ready to start at center.
You may wonder if we have that luxury or not, and it remains to be seen. During his rookie season, I forsee him as our fifth big and a guy that goes to the DLeague often to develop his skills (there's no shame in doing that, and he'll get more PT and experience there than sitting on the bench in the NBA). By his second season, he should be ready to be our primary backup center, and by his third season we might start him in certain situations.
This is all supposing that we get him in the first place, which is to be seen. However, if we do trade to the middle of the first, we should trade to Minnesota for the 16th pick, as he'll probably be available there. I'll finish this off with a picture of him, as again I don't have much footage of him because of where he played.
Passing the rock ^