It was fitting that the Nuggets defeated Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks Saturday night, just seven nights before Christmas.
It was just six years ago that Carmelo Anthony bequeathed the Nuggets a king’s ransom of assets in a trade to the Knicks. The upcoming draft will be the first year since that trade where the Nuggets don’t have any more draft picks that were conveyed as part of that transaction - for a time, it was truly the gift that kept on giving.
Before we get to the Big Board, it’s time to go back over some things we do know before delving into a lot of things we don’t know.
- The age, contract status, and number of players at each position.
- 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 has 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.
I’ll be getting into more of the prospects as the season continues, just like last season. I had some things to take care of that prevented me from keeping track of players as well as I would have liked.
While I list the prospects from one to thirty, since it’s so early in the season, most of the players are in tiers for my personal rankings. One thing is for certain, however - Markelle Fultz is in a tier by himself.
Here’s the second Big Board for 2017.
|5||Dennis Smith||NC State||PG||2||-4|
|9||Jonathan Isaac||Florida State||SF||9||0|
|13||Kostja Mushidi||Mega Leks||SG||22||9|
|17||Miles Bridges||Michigan State||SF/PF||19||2|
|20||Monte Morris||Iowa State||PG||20||0|
|21||Jawun Evans||Oklahoma State||PG||NR||NR|
|22||Robert Williams||Texas A&M||C||NR||NR|
|25||V.J. Beachem||Notre Dame||SF||NR||NR|
Here are a few thoughts:
- Poor Ivan Rabb. He would have been a top 10 pick if he had declared for the draft, and this year, he’s slid out of the top 10 in place of younger, more talented players like Harry Giles and Lauri Markkanen. He still does a lot of things well (rebound, score efficiently) but his lack of rim protection and spacing to the 3-point line has me moving a player I like down.
- Malik Monk is on his way to being a lottery pick. The combo guard has embraced the role of chucker for Kentucky. He’s averaging 7.8 3-point attempts per game, and converting 38 percent of them. Hey, shooters shoot, and Monk is getting asked to do plenty of that.
- Miles Bridges is likely going to be just outside of the lottery for me all season. He reminds me of Josh Smith, the former Atlanta Hawk. He also reminds me of Josh Smith, the former Detroit Piston. Please make good decisions with the basketball, Miles.
- The UCLA players are going to be overrated because of the pace they play at and the ridiculous efficiency they’ve shown to start the season. Maybe what they are doing is legitimate, but it’s probably not. TJ Leaf has been surprisingly great for the Bruins, and Lonzo Ball could be a top five pick. I wouldn’t take him with a top five pick, but it wouldn’t surprise me.
- V.J. Beachem is a fun sleeper to watch. He’s a senior for Notre Dame, but the Fighting Irish run a pro system and he’s been consistently improving.
- Frank Jackson, also fun. Duke is so stacked, he may not get noticed. Luke Kennard and Grayson Allen are going to get more minutes, but Jackson is a better pro prospect.