The Denver Nuggets decided they wanted a young power forward who could play some small ball center and traded with the Orlando Magic for Jarred Vanderbilt, the freshman from Kentucky. He was a rebounding demon in college despite a recurring foot injury that limited him to just 14 games in college: his rebounding averages are higher than many first-round big men including DeAndre Ayton and Mohamed Bamba.
Sources: Orlando will trade No. 41 overall pick Jarred Vanderbilt to Denver.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 22, 2018
Denver is betting on upside and against injury concerns, taking players in Michael Porter Jr and now Vanderbilt who fell because of availablity concerns. Vanderbilt can’t shoot at the moment and his upside is an unknown, but as a potential defensive version of Kenneth Faried who can cover both wings and bigs he has some abilities lacking in the myriad of other backup front court players on this roster already. Vanderbilt will undoubtedly need time in the G League, and as a second round pick the Nuggets do not get the four-year contract luxury that first rounders provide, but Vanderbilt’s 7’1 wingspan and potential defensive versatility next to Jokic led Denver to pull the trigger on this trade.
Here’s hoping Porter and Vanderbilt can stay healthy and productive in ways a similar set of players, Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler, were not able to in their Nuggets careers. If there were player types to take the risk on, though, it might just be the high-scoring small forward with length and the defensive-minded rebounder with great wingspan.
However it turns out, Denver’s front office is not proving to be risk-averse this year. Full details of the trade yet to come.