With Kenyon Martin to test free agency and perhaps Nene as well, the Nuggets might need to add some power forward depth through the draft. Would the 6’8” and 225 lb. Morehead State product, Kenneth Faried, be a good fit? He might, but with the No. 22 pick, the Nuggets would likely need to trade up in the first round to get him.

As the NBA post-season presses on for four teams, the rest of the league is starting to focus more-and-more on draft prospects. The Cleveland Cavaliers (thanks to the Los Angeles Clippers) won the NBA Draft lottery and will be choosing between Duke point guard Kyrie Irving and Arizona forward Derrick Williams. Then the Cavs will be choosing again just two picks later with their No. 4 pick.

From what I’ve been reading and hearing, this draft lacks the franchise changing players that can be found in some of the loaded drafts of the past – like the 2003 draft that featured LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade. But I’ve been hearing this draft could be a good one for finding quality rotation players, like perhaps the 2006 draft where players like Andrea Bargnani, LaMarcus Aldridge (a franchise guy finally), Tyrus Thomas, Brandon Roy, Rudy Gay, J.J. Redick, Thabo Sefolosha, and Rajon Rondo were selected.

Fortunately for the Nuggets, this draft also features some pretty good power forward prospects. As of Chad Ford's latest mock draft he has 10 power forwards slated to go in the first round and four more that could go in the first as well (and if you think Derrick Williams is a tweener – that makes 11-14). 

Here is a look at the Top 11 power forwards in the draft

  1. Jan Vesely 6’11” / 240 lbs / 21 yrs old / Czech Republic
  2. Tristan Thompson 6’8” / 225 lbs / 20 yrs old / Texas
  3. Jonas Valanciunas 6’10” / 230 lbs / 19 yrs old / Lithuania
  4. Bismack Biyombo 6’9” / 243 lbs / 18 yrs old / Spain
  5. Marcus Morris 6’9” / 235 lbs / 21 yrs old / Kansas
  6. Tobias Harris 6’8” / 226 lbs / 18 yrs old / Tennessee (slated to go to the Nuggets at No. 22)
  7. Kenneth Faried 6’8” / 225 lbs / 21 yrs old / Morehead State
  8. Donatas Motiejunas 7’0” / 220 lbs / 20 yrs old / Lithuania
  9. Markieff Morris 6’10” / 245 lbs / 21 yrs old / Kansas
  10. Nikola Vucevic 6’10” / 260 lbs / 20 yrs old / USC
  11. Justin Harper 6’10” / 225 lbs / 21 yrs old / Richmond

By the time the Nuggets pick at No. 22, only Harris and Harper are projected to be still left on the board. So, if the Denver want a better selection they may have to move up as far as pick No. 13 just to have their pick between six of the above players. Vesely, Thompson, Valanciunas, and Biyombo are all being projected as top 11 picks and are probably too rich for the Nuggets blood. 

K-Mart has been with the Nuggets for seven seasons and has been a steady defensive presence for the team the past four seasons. Martin's point per game production dipped down under double-digits for the first time in his career (he only played two games in the 2006-07 season) this past season to 8.6 ppg. While I appreciated all Martin did for the Nuggets during his tenure, there is no question that he is a limited offensive player. 

If the Nuggets look seriously towards drafting Faried then they will again be going after a guy with limited offensive ability. Since Martin arrived, the Nuggets have not had the most gifted offensive big men. Martin, Marcus Camby, Chris Andersen, Francisco Elson, Reggie Evans, Michael Doleac, Ryan Bowen, Eduardo Najera, Jamal Sampson, Steven Hunter, Renaldo Balkman, Cheikh Samb, Johan Petro, Malik Allen, Melvin Ely, and Shelden Williams have all had their time in Nuggets uniforms and none have been impressive offensive players.

It's time for the Nuggets to take some chances in the draft and to go after a big guy or two who is known more for his offense than anything else. Faried is not that player. Tobias Harris, the guy Ford has the Nuggets selecting, is known as a good all-around forward that averaged 15.3 ppg as a freshman at Tennessee, and he's only 18 years old – three years younger than Faried. It would be nice to see Denver get a player that can step out and hit some jumpers and free throws with consistency and be a big man that can come in off the bench and provide some scoring for a change. 

If the Nuggets keep their pick or if they trade up, it would be nice to see the pick be an offensive one – basketball wise.

On to the links … 

Afflalo expects to return to Nuggets – The Sports Xchange, CBS Sports.com
Afflalo saying he plans to be back and general manager Masai Ujiri confirms he'd like to re-sign the guard as well. Great news for Nuggets Nation.

As Nowitzki stars, Durant watches – Johnny Ludden, Yahoo! Sports
The Dallas vs. Oklahoma City series has been a good one (Dallas is up 2-1) and the two stars have been playing well, but Dirk is having the better overall impact on the games … as the veteran should.

Derrick Rose and the NBA's apparent 'huge' steroid problem – Kelly Dwyer, Yahoo! Sports
Were Rose's comments taken out of context? Perhaps. Maybe 'roids are not a big problem in the NBA.

Is Pine Crest grad Brandon Knight next in line to impact NBA? – Chris Tomasson, The Miami Herald
Nomadic writer and Denver Stiffs friend Tomasson offers up an excellent piece on Knight. Lots of folks think Irving is the can't miss prospect, but Knight had a very nice season as a freshman for Kentucky and might be a valuable NBA point guard.

Shaquille O'Neal's girlfriend schools him on sleep apnea – Kelly Dwyer, Yahoo! Sports
The Big Shamrock likes to snore and needs some help. I've known people who have received help for sleep apnea and are loving the results … minus the Darth Vader mask. 

LeBron stays fit for postseason – Marc J. Spears, Yahoo! Sports
Swimming, yoga, and Pilates are helping "The King" stay up for the playoffs. 

McHale leader for Rockets job – Adrian Wojnarowski, Yahoo! Sports
Lots of folks will forever remember McHale for messing up the Minnesota Timberwolves for a number of years. But you should also remember what a great player McHale was and from what I’ve read how funny he is and how well he relates to players. Maybe coaching and not running a front office is a better choice for the former Celtic great.

Kenneth Faried, a Newark native, trying to flash some offense at NBA draft combine – Chris Tomasson, NJ.com

Tomasson, the mad nomad, offers up a nice piece on Faried. The Morehead State player thinks he could be a great offensive player in the NBA … time will tell.

NBA Saturday: The Mystery Man – Alex Kennedy, Hoopsworld
Enes Kanter hasn't player organized ball for over a year and had NBA scouts drooling before being ruled ineligible for his freshman season at Kentucky. Some think Kanter will be a great pro-player … go read up on him.




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