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.
Stiffs Big Board 1.0
|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
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
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
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
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.