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Five things to know: Jarred Vanderbilt

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Defense and rebounds!

NCAA Basketball: Missouri at Kentucky Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

The Nuggets traded with the Orlando Magic to take their 41st overall pick in the 2018 draft acquiring Jarred Vanderbilt from Kentucky. This latest pick adds yet another forward to the Nuggets lineup. Here are five things to know about our newest Nugget.

  1. Vanderbilt played only 14 games in college with Kentucky. This is also more than Emmanuel Mudiay played after high school as Gordon noted in Five things to know: Michael Porter Jr. At Kentucky, Vanderbilt was sidelined first with a foot injury and then with an ankle injury. In the 14 games he did play, he averaged 5.9 points and 7.9 rebounds in 17 minutes per game.
  2. His best skill is play making in space and transition. I feel like this is where the Nuggets struggle at times. In transition they (namely Will Barton) sometimes get a little too excited, and put up shots without really thinking through the best play options or taking the opportunity to pass. I’d like to see Vanderbilt fill a need in this area given that his position is similar to Barton’s.
  3. He’s a lefty. But, he can handle the ball with both hands which may allow for some advantages with switch-ups during games. His ambidextrous abilities have allowed him to be tricky when finishing at the rim—perhaps another Gary Harris in the making.
  4. Vanderbilt is known for his skills on the offensive glass. If that’s not enough to draft him right there, I don’t know what is. The Nuggets aren’t really missing Kenneth Faried’s contribution on the court, but I will say they could use a hand getting some second chance points, and it sounds like Vanderbilt may be just what the doctor ordered.
  5. Drum roll please... He’s can guard multiple positions. True, he only had 14 games to show it, but there is promise nonetheless. He’s also shown himself to be an elite defensive rebounder which will again help replace some of what was lost when Faried was exiled to warm the bench.

Overall, I’d say Vanderbilt is a great pick for the Nuggets. He shows to be a promising defender, and an aggressive rebounder which the Nuggets need more of. Here’s hoping he gets minutes because it’s getting mighty crowded at the forward position in Denver.