With the No. 51 pick in the 2017 draft, the Denver Nuggets selected Monte Morris, a senior point guard that played at Iowa State University. Here are our thoughts on the Nuggets new point guard.
What grade are you giving the Nuggets for their selection of Morris?
Daniel Lewis (@minutemandan): He’s by far the best player I think the Nuggets selected tonight. I thought that it would be prudent for the Nuggets to select a backup point guard to groom in case they moved Emmanuel Mudiay or decided to move on from Jameer Nelson once his contract was up. I’ll give the Nuggets an A for this pick.
Gordon Gross (@GMoneyNuggs): I wanted a defensive point guard in the second round, but once again the Nuggets decided to go another way. Morris seems to be a terrific caretaker of the basketball, though, a basketball IQ pick rather than a tools projection. That’s fine with me (and having watched him play in college probably helps my feelings a bit). Solid B for a team that is dying for good backup play. Not sure that he’s any better than Josh Adams who played on our Summer League squad last year, but we’ll see how it plays out.
Ashley Douglas (@AshleyNBAHoops): If the Nuggets are able to make good on the Eric Bledsoe trade, or another trade for an experienced point guard other than Jameer Nelson I like the Morris pick. He looks to be a valuable asset and can certainly add some more firepower to the Nuggets roster. It seems as though the Nuggets have planned to forego defense and simply rely on outscoring the other team—a strategy that works for some NBA teams.
Will Morris spend more time in the G League or in the NBA?
Lewis: I’m hoping the Nuggets announce they are launching their own G League franchise at their next press conference, but it wouldn’t be formed until 2018. Morris will likely spend a majority of his time with the Sioux Falls Skyforce next season, which should be fine, because that’s a great place for him to continue to see game action.
Gross: The Nuggets are going to have to work out deals with other NBA teams to find places to put all these G Leaguers who need playing time to develop. Not having a G League squad is gonna hurt, but I’d wager he’ll get more G League time than NBA time.
Douglas: That all depends. If the Nuggets plan to play Murray at the point then I believe Morris will likely spend a fair amount of time in the G-League. However, if the Nuggets can move Will Barton and play Murray at the 2 behind Harris, Morris may be a good off the bench guard in development.
Does this signal anything about the Nuggets feelings for Emmanuel Mudiay?
Lewis: There was a rumor that Mudiay could have been moved to Phoenix with the No. 13 pick for Eric Bledsoe, and it seems like he is extremely movable at this point. The Nuggets seem to like Jamal Murray’s talent going forward, but I think it’s still too early to give up entirely on Mudiay. I think the Nuggets will continue to be patient with Mudiay, and Morris just gives them some insurance.
Gross: The Nuggets are covering bases. If Mudiay has to fear the 51st pick in the draft any time soon that’s his problem, not Morris’s and not Denver’s.
Douglas: I think this move mean the Nuggets are officially no longer putting their eggs in the Emmanuel Mudiay basket, but I think that’s a foregone conclusion. If the Nuggets are going to move Nelson they’ll likely need to include Mudiay in a trade deal for another experienced guard. Mudiay is not a lost cause, but he’s definitely the guy the Nuggets are building around meaning he’s expendable.
What’s something you like about Morris’s game? Dislike?
Lewis: I like that he is extremely skilled at not turning the ball over. He is the all-time leader in NCAA history for assist to turnover ratio, with a 4.65:1 rate. He projects to be a solid backup point guard, and that’s something I think has good value. I don’t like that he lacks the ceiling to ever be a starter except in case of an emergency, but with the No. 51 pick, I didn’t have the highest of expectations for that selection.
Gross: He has a mature game, which is impressive for a pace-based team in college that required a lot from its point guard in terms of space reads and distribution. I don’t care that he’s not the best athlete or the best shooter - as long as he makes the right decisions that can be enough to steady a bench squad or fill in for an emergency. And if he gets to be better than that, I’ll take it.
Douglas: I like that Morris spent all four years in college before coming to the NBA. This level of experience will prove very useful as he makes his way to the NBA so the Nuggets may be able to use him sooner than normal. It takes time for a guard to build confidence and poise, and while Morris will still need time to develop as a rookie, his college years will prove very useful as he matures. On the flip side, I am disappointed that Morris doesn’t add any defensive strength to the Nuggets’ roster. While Morris may complement the Nuggets’ offense, he also doesn’t help solve any problems on defense.
Check out this video breaking down the strengths and weaknesses of Morris.