SB Nation Mock Draft: Nuggets select Nicholson

Andrew Nicholson (44) could help the Nuggets in many ways.

SB Nation's family of bloggers put together our first NBA Mock Draft, based on which players we believe the teams we cover will draft on Thursday (June 28th). With the No. 20 pick, I selected Andrew Nicholson for the Nuggets, ahead of Royce White, Arnett Moultrie, Marquis Teague, and Quincy Miller.

Here is what I said about the pick:

Denver is in need of a stretch big man, and Nicholson's game fits in perfectly. The youth movement continues for the Nuggets, and the deep team fills a need to play next to Kenneth Faried and JaVale McGee. And Al Harrington gets a chance to teach his clone.

In addition to that, consider that Nicholson shined when the stage got bigger. He helped his team march through the Atlantic-10 tournament and win the right to play in the NCAA Tournament by defeating St. Joseph's (25 points, 10 rebounds), Massachusetts (19 points, 6 rebounds), and Xavier (26 points, 14 rebounds, and 10-10 from the foul line). And his Bonnies almost pulled off the upset of No. 3 seed Florida State in the tournament, losing 66-63 behind 20 points (4-5 from deep) and 7 rebounds from Nicholson.

His strength might be outside the paint, but with JaVale McGee and Kenneth Faried doing most of their dirty work inside, Nicholson could be the perfect stretch-forward to compliment their games. You can see a little Rasheed Wallace when Nicholson shoots the ball with his high release and some Tim Duncan when he stretches to dunk the ball with his right hand. But Nicholson doesn't say he mirrors his game after anyone. The physicist from Canada plays his own brand of basketball.

Nicholson can play facing the hoop, has some game in the post, rebounds, and can pass a little bit too. He might struggle at the NBA level with adjusting to the talent - he's not the most athletic guy around, but he is smart. Not to say he's Wallace or Duncan, that would be insane. But he does possess some of their tools and needs to learn how to mold his game to the League.

The Nuggets will likely have a tough decision to make come Thursday. I could see the team trying to trade up if a guy like Perry Jones starts to fall, the Nuggets could easily trade out of the first-round or back if they can stock-pile future assets, or they might just have to decide between a few guys on who gets to be tortured by George Karl and schooled, his way, on how to play in the NBA.

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