The NBA draft is finally upon us! In just a few hours we’ll have so many more things to talk about, and so many snap judgments to make about players we can’t possibly know well enough to judge.
Last year at this time, the Nuggets reportedly almost traded Gary Harris in a package to get Kevin Love, did trade the #13 pick (which became Donovan Mitchell), were not able to alleviate some of their roster clutter and generally had themselves a very strange night. Twelve months later the Nuggets are back in almost the exact same position, with many of the same roster pieces that they can use to move around the draft in almost any way they want. There are so many options, but the Nuggets can only choose one set.
So let’s get to our predictions for the night!
Give me your expected selections for the top-3 draft picks.
Adam Mares: 1. DeAndre Ayton. 2. Marvin Bagley. 3. Luka Doncic. However, I don’t think Atlanta will be the third team picking. I have a feeling that pick will be traded to somebody already in the lottery.
Daniel Lewis (@minutemandan): 1) DeAndre Ayton, 2) Luka Doncic, and 3) Marvin Bagley III. I think Sacramento will do the right thing (for once) and take Doncic. Atlanta will settle for Bagley.
Jeremy Poley (@jeremypoley): 1. DeAndre Ayton, 2. Marvin Bagley III, 3. Mo Bamba. Knicks think Bamba will be gone by 4 so they move up to 3 to pair him with Porzingis and create the longest frontcourt in the NBA.
Evan Fiala (@eefiala): 1. DeAndre Ayton 2. Luka Doncic 3. Jaren Jackson Jr. Much to my chagrin, Vlade Divac and the Kings are blowing smoke.
Zach Mikash (@ZachMikash): I’m with Evan, I think the Kings have been feeding us some grade A bull the whole time. I got Ayton 1, Doncic 2, Jackson 3.
Will the Nuggets draft at 14?
Mares: The mock drafts all seem to point toward Miles Bridges still being available at 14 and if that is the case, Denver has an easy call. If Bridges is gone, Zhaire Smith will be the pick.
Lewis: Yes, they’ll do the right thing (this year) and draft at 14. Any movement up or down would be shocking to me.
Poley: I’m going all in. I have to. The most recent reports don’t have the Nuggets listed talking to Atlanta at #3. But they doooooo have them talking to Memphis at #4. If Bamba really is taken at #3, Denver has to do everything it can to snag Doncic at #4.
Fiala: Yeah. When it’s all said and done, I think Denver will try to move up but will ultimately end up sticking at 14.
Mikash: Depends, if Miles or Kevin Knox is there then I think they take one of them with the pick. Without one of those two guys I see them trading back to get off Faried’s contract.
Give me a player you think will become a Nugget before the night is over.
Mares: Other than Bridges, I’m not sure another player will be added to the roster. I think both the 43d and 58th picks will be dealt in a trade or sold for cash considerations.
Lewis: Cash considerations. If the Bridge Brothers are gone, I have my heart set on Keita Bates-Diop, Zhaire Smith, or Josh Okogie (in that order). There, I gave you five players.
Poley: Doncic. If the Nuggets draft at 14 my top 3 in order are Bridgeses, Robert Williams, and then Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. If they trade back my heart would be set on still snagging Keita Bates-Diop.
Fiala: Kevin Knox (though I don’t necessarily want that).
Mikash: Tryggvi Hlinason. The Nuggets brought him in for a workout and he’s a young, raw but rapidly improving euro big...sounds familiar. The Nuggets have generally found an international prospect with every draft (Vlatko Cancar, beast, book it) so I won’t be shocked at all if they pick up Hlinason in the second round.
Will Kenneth Faried still be a Nugget tomorrow?
Mares: Yes. I think Denver will unload Faried in free agency, probably along with one of Malik Beasley, Juancho Hernangomez, Monte Morris, or Tyler Lydon. However there is a chance Denver finds a home for Faried tomorrow night in a deal that does NOT include the 14th pick.
Lewis: Absolutely. He’s going to be a Nuggets player for his entire career, that’s my prediction. Let’s end any talk of him fetching a first round pick as return for a trade. Dwight Howard, a certified asshole yet productive player, was just traded for Timofey Mozgov and a couple second round picks. Faried isn’t getting Denver a first by himself in any trade.
Poley: Faried still being around on Friday is a real possibility. If the Nuggets move up it will be hard to fit Faried into a deal. And at this point, even if they don’t move up, the Nuggets have to be believers in landing a quality player at #14. It’s going to be a hard choice to move back in this draft. I can easily see them not moving Faried tomorrow and hoping that someone after the draft finds themselves in need of wheeling and dealing as much as the Nuggets will be.
Fiala: Yup, and he should be. There is no reason to try and force him out just yet unless the right deal comes along, and I’m not sure there will be one on the table tonight.
Mikash: I put it at a 30% that he’s traded tonight. I think Miles Bridges is going to be there at 14 and the Nuggets are going to take him, but I think there’s a 30% chance they move back and if they are doing that its to unload Faried.
Describe how you expect to feel about Denver’s draft, one word only.
Mares: Surprisingly positive. I think Denver will get a solid piece of their long-term future in Miles Bridges and will avoid trading with the Utah Jazz.
Lewis: Adam used two words, so I will stick to one: Torn. That’s a song by Natalie Imbruglia. That’s how I feel if the Nuggets mess up again. If they do well, I’ll be cautiously optimistic.
Poley: Insane. If Doncic becomes a Nugget today I will buy a Doncic jersey. I will buy a Ben Simmons jersey. I will go to a 76ers game in Philly wearing my Doncic jersey. I’ll cover the Simmons jersey in cheesesteak, pretzel, and water ice, and throw it in the trash in front of the friendliest, most loving, most brotherly fans in the world.
Fiala: Underwhelmed. After last year I learned not to get my hopes up for anything exciting or good to happen. I think the Nuggets will be extra cautious in 2018 and take the safest road possible.
Mikash: Positively, utterly and completely mixed. Oh, only site managers get to break the rules and use more than one word? Okay then, I’ll go with uneasy. I love the idea of Miles Bridges in a Nuggets uniform almost as much as I love the idea of Luka Doncic in a Nuggets uniform, but I’m not wild on Knox and trading back would be very anti-climactic, even if I understand it. I’m just hoping my completely dumbfounded face isn’t being broadcast on Facebook Live after the Nuggets make their pick.