The Nuggets are in the middle of a race for the final playoff seed in the Western Conference with a month remaining in the regular season, with the team hoping for their first playoff appearance since 2013.
The Nuggets gave up the rights to the 2017 Memphis first round pick in a trade for Mason Plumlee with the Portland Trail Blazers, and as such currently only have their own pick in the draft. With the race for the playoffs and their record, the Nuggets could wind up selecting anywhere from No. 10 to No. 17 in the first round. While the playoffs would be the successful completion of a preseason goal, missing the playoffs does give the Nuggets single digit odds of winning the lottery (it won’t happen).
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 Nuggets have their own first-round draft pick, but the Houston Rockets own the rights to the Nuggets second-round pick.
- The Nuggets will have two second-round picks, one from the Oklahoma City Thunder and the other from the Memphis Grizzlies.
Don’t be surprised if there is a prospect that has a stellar NCAA tournament run and rises up draft boards, showing that he can excel against tougher competition. There’s always one or two guys that show out in the draft combine as well, but I think it’s useful to have an idea of some players to watch through the NCAA postseason.
Here’s the third Big Board for 2017.
|Rank||Player, Position, Team||Previous Rank||Change|
|1||Markelle Fultz, PG, Washington||1||0|
|2||Josh Jackson, SF, Kansas||2||0|
|3||Dennis Smith Jr., PG, NC State||5||+2|
|4||Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLA||8||+4|
|5||Jayson Tatum, SF, Duke||4||-1|
|6||Malik Monk, SG, Kentucky||10||+4|
|7||Jonathan Isaac, SF, Florida State||9||+2|
|8||Frank Ntilikina, PG, Strasbourg||6||-2|
|9||Lauri Markkanen, PF, Arizona||7||-2|
|10||De'Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky||16||+6|
|11||Miles Bridges, SF, Michigan State||17||+6|
|12||Robert Williams, PG, Texas A&M||22||+10|
|13||Justin Patton, C, Creighton||NR||NR|
|14||OG Anunoby, SF, Indiana||11||-3|
|15||Mikal Bridges, SF, Villanova||NR||NR|
|16||Josh Hart, SG, Villanova||27||+11|
|17||TJ Leaf, PF, UCLA||15||+2|
|18||Donovan Mitchell, SG, Louisville||NR||NR|
|19||Bam Adebayo, C, Kentucky||14||-5|
|20||Terrance Ferguson, SF, Adelaide||19||-1|
|21||Ivan Rabb, PF, California||12||-9|
|22||Harry Giles, PF, Duke||3||-19|
|23||Devonte Graham, SG, Kansas||NR||NR|
|24||Jawun Evans, PG, Oklahoma State||21||-3|
|25||Luke Kennard, SG, Duke||NR||NR|
|26||Tyler Lydon, SF, Syracuse||NR||NR|
|27||De'Anthony Melton, PG, USC||NR||NR|
|28||Bruce Brown, SG, Miami||NR||NR|
|29||Justin Jackson, SF, North Carolina||NR||NR|
|30||Johnathan Motley, PF, Baylor||NR||NR|
Here are a few thoughts:
- I need to update my Big Board more often. Waiting three months meant there was a lot of movement that hadn’t been recorded.
- It’s been so much fun to watch Malik Monk this season. Defenders can put a hand in his face, and he’ll still elevate for a jumper. He’ll have a lot to learn defensively, but offensively, he’s the engine to power teams for runs.
- I still rank OG Anunoby high, despite his ACL injury. He could be a different guy after he recovers, and he may decide to return to Indiana. But if he’s healthy, he’s an impact defender.
- Harry Giles was a preseason top 3 pick in the draft, and now there’s a strong possibility he isn’t a lottery selection. How well a player performs in high school is not a reliable indicator for NBA prospects.
- De’Anthony Melton is a guy that does everything on the court. He doesn’t convert 3-pointers efficiently, but his form doesn’t look off, so perhaps he just needs time to be more consistent. You can’t teach his size (6’4” with a 6’8” wingspan) and effort, especially as a perimeter defender.
- My favorite second-round prospect is Jordan Bell, from Oregon. He’s older than some other power forward prospects, but he can play.