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2017 Stiffs Prospect Watch: Preseason Big Board

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College basketball returns Friday, and as such, it’s time to start watching prospects for the 2017 NBA Draft.

NCAA Basketball: Asbury at Kentucky Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

The college basketball season tips off on Friday with top-ranked teams like Duke, Villanova, Michigan State, Arizona and Oregon opening the action for the country.

With the actual draft is over 200 days away, there’s a lot of basketball to be played between now and then. There will of course be the exciting play of one-and-done freshmen like Markelle Fultz coupled with the steady play of veterans like Jaron Blossomgame.

It is practically impossible for me to predict what the Denver Nuggets will be looking for in the upcoming draft. There could be career-ending injuries, trades, a lack of development - I have no way of knowing what the position the Nuggets will need to address in the draft.

What I do know are the following things:

  • The age, contract status, and number of players at each position the Nuggets have.
  • That Danilo Gallinari has a player option for the 2017-18 season that he could opt out of to enter free agency.
  • That Mike Miller and Jarnell Stokes have non-guaranteed contracts.
  • The Nuggets have their own first-round draft pick and could potentially have the Memphis Grizzlies first-round pick.
  • The Nuggets will have two second-round picks, one from the Oklahoma City Thunder and the other from the Golden State Warriors.
  • The Nuggets have the draft rights to Petr Cornelie (2016 draft) and to Nikola Radicevic (2015 draft).

I have my opinion on positions the team may need to address in the draft, but I do want to approach the draft prospect watch season with an open mind, so if you have a player you’d like me to watch, let me know. I’ll be putting out more in-depth analysis of players as the season goes on, but those won’t come out for a while since I’ll need time to watch the players in games.

Rank Name Team Position
1 Markelle Fultz Washington PG
2 Dennis Smith NC State PG
3 Harry Giles Duke PF
4 Josh Jackson Kansas SF
5 Frank Ntilikina Strasbourg PG
6 Jayson Tatum Duke SF
7 Jonathan Isaac Florida State SF
8 Ivan Rabb California PF
9 Lauri Markkanen Arizona PF
10 Bam Adebayo Kentucky PF
11 Edmond Sumner Xavier PG
12 De'Aaron Fox Kentucky PG
13 Jarrett Allen Texas C
14 OG Anunoby Indiana SF
15 Jaron Blossomgame Clemson SF
16 Rodions Kurucs Barcelona SF
17 Marques Bolden Duke C
18 Miles Bridges Michigan State SF/PF
19 Lonzo Ball UCLA PG
20 Monte Morris Iowa State PG
21 Isaiah Hartenstein Zalgiris Kaunas PF
22 Kostja Mushidi Mega Leks SG
23 Jonathan Jeanne Le Mans C
24 Malik Monk Kentucky SG
25 Thomas Bryant Indiana C
26 Josh Hart Villanova SG
27 Nigel Hayes Wisconsin SF/PF
28 Grayson Allen Duke SG
29 Omer Yurtseven NC State PF
30 Chris Boucher Oregon C

Three thoughts on the 2017 draft

This draft has a lot of point guard potential. While the Nuggets seem set at point guard, holy cow is there a lot of talent in this draft. The Nuggets (hopefully) won’t be in the top 15 of the draft, but there are some tantalizing prospects there. If I was to pick a player that I think would be exciting on the Nuggets, I’d go with De’Aaron Fox for now.

Fox will be sharing the Kentucky backcourt with Isaiah Briscoe and Malik Monk, but he’s a guard that loves to play defense. He’s like young Corey Brewer in a point guard body - so much fun to watch when things are clicking. Plus, he’s a lefty, which makes for an interesting prospect.

It’s a good thing the Nuggets have center depth. While the point guards are exciting, there aren’t a lot of big men that look ready to step in right away and succeed. Big men usually need time to develop, and aren’t able to step into the league and play well.

The best big in the draft, Harry Giles, looks like a special player, but he’s also had two ACL surgeries. If he has a great season at Duke with Coach K, it’ll be interesting to see if he goes with the top pick. The Blue Devils have a stacked team this year, and could see their entire starting lineup go in the top 30 picks of the draft.

My pick for player I most want to see on the Nuggets is Jayson Tatum. He can get buckets. Most of those buckets are going to come on mid-range jumpers, but he’s so dang good at those it creates an advantage for him against opposing defenses.

Tatum could be a top scoring option if he adds some more strength, which will allow him to seek contact and finish through it when he drives to the rim. He’s a smooth athlete, with a nice handle to complement his silky jumper.

Defensively, it’s difficult to judge him at this point. I know I’ll be watching him closely on that end at Duke because if he’s able to mark opposing small forwards, he’ll be a great NBA player.

The players following Tatum for now are Jonathan Isaac, Jaron Blossomgame, Miles Bridges, and OG Anunoby. (PS - I’m thinking the Nuggets take a SF in the draft).

Let me know what players you like in the comments or by messaging me on Twitter.