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Draft Day: Everything Nuggets fans need to know about the 2021 NBA Draft

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Will the Denver Nuggets select their next star at 26th overall?

2016 NBA Draft Photo by Chris Marion/NBAE via Getty Images

The Essentials

When is the draft?

Tonight! July 29th at 6:00pm MT!

Where can I watch the draft?

There are several channels that will be covering the proceedings. ABC will air the first round of the draft live and focus on the stories and backgrounds of the players selected. ESPN will air both rounds live and will focus on the selections, trades, rumors and other happenings.

How many picks do the Nuggets have?

Just one. The 26th pick in the first round. The Nuggets traded away their second round pick (56th) in a salary dump of Wilson Chandler to the Philadelphia 76ers back on July 6th, 2018. They also traded their 2022 2nd round pick in the same deal.

Don’t be surprised if the Nuggets finish the draft with a different number of picks than they started. Tim Connelly and the Nuggets have made draft day trades in four straight drafts. He likes to wheel and deal.

Denver Stiffs NBA Draft Resources

  • Mock Draft done by Brandon Ewing, Reid Howard, and Ryan Blackburn on Tuesday can be found here
  • Big Board done by Reid Howard on Wednesday can be found here
  • All 23 NBA Draft prospect profiles done by Stiffs writers can be found here

Biggest Draft Night Questions

Where do the top prospects go?

It appears that Cade Cunningham is likely heading to the Detroit Pistons, though crazier things have happened before. Cunningham appears to be some sort of hybrid playmaking wing, mixed between Luka Doncic, Jayson Tatum and Khris Middleton. I doubt the Pistons let that guy go.

The questions really start with the Houston Rockets at 2. They have been projecting shooting guard Jalen Green as their preferred pick, but nobody would be shocked if they went with versatile big man Evan Mobley instead. Do the Cleveland Cavaliers take one or the other at 3? Do they trade down instead? How do Jalen Suggs, Scottie Barnes, and Jonathan Kuminga factor into this discussion?

This appears to be one of the strongest classes at the top of the draft in awhile, comparable to 2018 with Luka Doncic, Trae Young, and Deandre Ayton, as well as a free falling Michael Porter Jr. due to injury concerns (thanks again lower lottery teams). The 2021 class might even be better than 2018, which means Nuggets fans should pay attention to where the top prospects ultimately go.

Are any big name stars traded?

It appears that point forward Ben Simmons is on the market, though the Philadelphia 76ers are apparently asking for a significant return. Bradley Beal has been dancing around staying with the Washington Wizards and asking for a trade, and his decision may force the Wizards to act quickly on Thursday night. The Portland Trail Blazers are expected to be active, and whether that leads to a Damian Lillard (less likely) or CJ McCollum trade (more likely) remains to be seen.

Draft night is when many of the trade conversations teams have been having over the last several weeks ultimately build into something real. The Nuggets, as mentioned previously, have made several draft night trades in the past few drafts. It doesn’t mean that Denver will be the most active team, but they, like others, will be on the watch for something that piques their interest in the short and/or long term.

What will the Denver Nuggets do?

The short answer is: probably draft a guard at some point. Teams generally aren’t supposed to select players based solely on immediate need, but the Nuggets are lucky that the strength of this class is the guard depth. There are plenty of options all over the first and second round that could fit into Denver’s system and do reasonably well.

The long answer is: it depends on what the Nuggets are looking for both in the short term and long term. If the Nuggets are looking for immediate help, they could certainly trade their pick for a veteran. The Nuggets will have to survive the injury absence of Jamal Murray for a significant chunk of the 2021-22 season, and they may not have Will barton to help, who’s an unrestricted free agent. Using the 26th pick to acquire a veteran guard that can play either point guard or shooting guard might not be a bad idea.

More likely though, the Nuggets have always had a patient approach when it comes to the NBA Draft, and they know the value of having young, cheaper NBA talent developing in the pipeline while the veterans worry about the immediate wins and losses. If that’s the case, the Nuggets will likely target a guard or wing in this draft class to help fill in the rotation long term next to Jamal Murray, Michael Porter Jr., and Nikola Jokić. Such players will need to be versatile, have a high basketball IQ, shoot, and defend. There are several players in this draft class that can do at least some of those things. If the Nuggets are lucky, they will find someone who can do it all.

We at Denver Stiffs hope you enjoy the 2021 NBA Draft! Make sure to check out all of out NBA Draft content as we all prepare for what’s to come on Thursday night!

Poll

What WILL the Nuggets do on draft night?

This poll is closed

  • 36%
    Play it safe, draft at 26.
    (91 votes)
  • 30%
    Trade up and go get the guy they want.
    (75 votes)
  • 22%
    Trade down and pick up multiple selections.
    (55 votes)
  • 10%
    Trade the pick for a veteran player.
    (25 votes)
  • 0%
    Other (tell us in the comments below!)
    (2 votes)
248 votes total Vote Now