The NBA Draft is an event that often features the Denver Nuggets coming away from it as a winner. The Nuggets will have the 21st pick in the draft, and no second round picks. Up until this point in the draft cycle, most mock drafts have featured the Nuggets taking wings or defensive minded guards. It makes a lot of sense due to the teams’ lack of wing depth and perimeter defense being apparent all season long. Austin Rivers was the only positive defender in Denver’s back court this season, and Aaron Gordon was used as a point of attack defender; even though that is not the role he should be in.

Denver fans are hoping that the front office can capitalize on this pick by drafting a defensive minded player. Whether that be a guard or forward — not many are picky. The Nuggets are likely looking for someone who can contribute immediately and help sure up their defense.

Rank Name Draft Age Position Height Weight School/Club
1 Paolo Banchero 19.6 Big 6'10" 250 lbs Duke
2 Chet Holmgren 20.1 Big 7'1" 195 lbs Gonzaga
3 Jaden Ivey 20.4 Guard 6'4" 195 lbs Purdue
4 Jabari Smith Jr 19.1 Big 6'9" 215 lbs Auburn
5 AJ Griffin 18.8 Wing 6'6" 222 lbs Duke
6 Jalen Duren 18.6 Big 6'10" 250 lbs Memphis
7 Bennedict Mathurin 20 Off Ball Guard 6'6" 210 lbs Arizona
8 Shaedon Sharpe 19.1 Guard 6'6" 201 lbs Kentucky
9 Keegan Murray 21.8 Forward 6'8" 225 lbs Iowa
10 Nikola Jovic 19 Wing 6'10" 209 lbs Mega Basket
11 Johnny Davis 20.3 Guard 6'5" 194 lbs Wisconsin
12 Jeremy Sochan 19.1 Forward 6'9" 230 lbs Baylor
13 Tari Eason 21.1 Forward 6'8" 215 lbs LSU
14 Dyson Daniels 19.3 Wing 6'8" 170 lbs Ignite
15 Malaki Branham 19.1 Wing 6'5" 180 lbs Ohio State
16 MarJon Beauchamp 21.7 Wing 6'6" 199 lbs Ignite
17 Mark Williams 20.5 Big 7'0" 243 lbs Duke
18 Ousmane Dieng 19.1 Forward 6'10" 216 lbs New Zealand Breakers
19 Alondes Williams 23 Point 6'5" 210 lbs Wake Forest
20 Christian Braun 21.2 Wing 6'6" 205 lbs Kansas
21 Ochai Agbaji 22.2 Wing 6'5" 215 lbs Kansas
22 Ismael Kamagate 21.4 Big 6'11" 220 lbs Paris Basketball
23 Kendall Brown 19.1 Forward 6'8" 205 lbs Baylor
24 Jake LaRavia 20.5 Forward 6'9" 228 lbs Wake Forest
25 Vince Williams 21.8 Wing 6'6" 210 lbs VCU
26 Jalen Williams 21.2 Forward 6'6" 195 lbs Santa Clara
27 Patrick Baldwin Jr 19.6 Forward 6'9" 220 lbs Milwaukee
28 Terquavion Smith 19.5 Guard 6'4" 160 lbs NC State
29 Jaden Hardy 20 Guard 6'4" 185 lbs Ignite
30 Leonard Miller 18.6 Forward 6'9" 175 lbs Fort Erie Prep
31 EJ Liddell 21.5 Forward 6'7" 240 lbs Ohio State
32 Christian Koloko 22 Big 7'1" 225 lbs Arizona
33 John Butler 19.5 Forward 7'1" 190 lbs Florida State
34 Tyty Washington 20.6 Point 6'3" 185 lbs Kentucky
35 Wendell Moore Jr 20.9 Wing 6'5" 213 lbs Duke
36 Gabriele Procida 20 Wing 6'7" 194 lbs Bologna
37 Jaylin Williams 20 Big 6'10" 240 lbs Arkansas
38 Blake Wesley 19.3 Guard 6'5" 185 lbs Notre Dame
39 Trevion Williams 21.8 Big 6'10" 255 lbs Purdue
40 Bryce McGowens 19.6 Guard 6'7" 173 lbs Nebraska
41 Iverson Molinar 22.5 Guard 6'3" 190lbs Mississippi State
42 Hugo Besson 21.2 Guard 6'5" 196 lbs New Zealand Breakers
43 Trevor Keels 18.8 Guard 6'4" 221 lbs Duke
44 Ryan Rollins 19.9 Guard 6'4" 180 lbs Toledo
45 Dalen Terry 19.9 Guard 6'7" 195 lbs Arizona
46 Harrison Ingram 19.6 Forward 6'7" 230 lbs Stanford
47 Jordan Hall 20.4 Wing 6'7" 215 lbs St. Joe's
48 Kennedy Chandler 19.8 Point 6'0" 172 lbs Tennessee
49 Justin Lewis 20.1 Big 6'7" 245 lbs Marquette
50 Max Christie 19.4 Wing 6'7" 185 lbs Michigan St
51 Walker Kessler 20.8 Big 7'1" 245 lbs Auburn
52 Matteo Spagnolo 19.4 Guard 6'5" 180 lbs Cremona
53 Keon Ellis 22.5 Guard 6'6" 170 lbs Alabama
54 David Roddy 21.2 Wing 6'6" 255 lbs Colorado State
55 Dominick Barlow 19.1 Forward 6'8" 205 lbs OTE
56 Jean Montero 18.9 Guard 6'2" 172 lbs OTE
57 Jaden Shackelford 21.3 Guard 6'3" 200 lbs Alabama
58 JD Davison 19.6 Guard 6'3" 175 lbs Alabama
59 Jabari Walker 19.8 Forward 6'9" 215 lbs Colorado
60 Hyunjung Lee 21.6 Wing 6'7" 210 lbs Davidson

With the top 60 prospects laid out, I will break down who I think the Nuggets should target for the best outcome of this draft. As far as roles they should draft for, I think that they should prioritize shooting and defense — with more emphasis on the defense. Also, the targets are going to be realistic targets, not Paolo Banchero or Chet Holmgren.

Four Best Targets for the Nuggets

MarJon Beauchamp – G League Ignite

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MarJon Beauchamp is one of the better wing prospects in this seasons draft, and specializes in areas of need for the Nuggets. His main appeal as a prospect is his defense and his finishing around the rim. He has good size at 6’6” and a reported 7 foot wingspan. His main questions lie in his 3 point jumpshot where he only hit 24.2% of his 3 point shots. There are positive indicators for upside in that area though, and his defensive tools and instincts make him a very appealing prospect for teams like Denver who need point of attack defenders.

His role on offense would initially be an off-ball cutter and occasional ball handler. He shot 77% within 5 feet of the rim with the G League Ignite, and often had secondary ball handler duties. He could likely fill in the role that a Torrey Craig or PJ Dozier did for seasons past, but with greater athleticism and defensive potential. To have a player like that with good upside on a good contract is something the Nuggets would be excited to get.

Christian Braun – Kansas

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Christian Braun completed his junior year of college with the ultimate capstone to a college career — a national championship. The Jayhawks were helped by the wing’s defense and shooting. He shot 38.6% from beyond the arc this past season on 3.3 attempts per game. On his college career he was a 37.8% shooter on 3.5 attempts per game. He especially excelled off the catch, knocking down 41.4% of his catch and shoot jumpers for Kansas last season.

His defense was also eye catching. When defending in isolation, Braun only allowed 24.5% of his opponents shots to go in. His 6’6” frame gives him enough size to check most guards and smaller forwards. He doesn’t have the wingspan or athleticism that MarJon Beauchamp has, but is a better shooter and likely better contributor from day 1 than Beauchamp.

Wendell Moore Jr. – Duke

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Wendell Moore Jr. is someone who is often mocked going lower than the other two. He’s typically seen going in the early second round in those mock drafts, and it’s not without reason. He isn’t elite at any one thing and is someone often thought of as an older prospect, despite being younger than many in this draft. Those prospects are often overlooked, and you may notice I have him in the early second as well.

The reason I have him that low is because this is a general big board, and not a Nuggets specific one. He likely doesn’t have a ton of upside because he doesn’t have a standout skill, but he is solid at everything. He has decent size at 6’5” and a long 7 foot wingspan. After flopping in his first two seasons with the Blue Devils, Wendell turned it around this past season and was a productive player in many areas — notably his defense and shooting. He also took on some ball handling duties for Duke during the season. Some think it was a flash in the pan season, but I buy into him as a good role player. He’s a high floor, low ceiling pick.

Jake LaRavia – Wake Forest

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Wake Forest’s Jake LaRavia is a weird player in a really good way. He has good screen navigation and foul drawing while not being the typical athletic player that is good at those sorts of things. He is a good team defender, on ball defender, and is also a good shooter. He has a good 6’9” frame for a forward as well. He’s someone the Nuggets could look at as a forward rather than a wing to help hold down the front and back courts defensively.