I’m still holding out hope that the Nuggets can leap into the top 3 of the NBA draft lottery on May 20th because as my colleague Jeff Morton wrote recently:

It's time. It's time for fortune and luck to shine it's glow down upon the Mile High City.

But if luck doesn't shine on the Nuggets and they stick with the 11th pick, here are some early indications of who the pundits think could be on Denver's radar.

1st Round: 11th overall pick

Draft Express: Denver selects Aaron Gordon, 6'9" and 220 pound Power Forward out of Arizona.

Denver could go in a few different directions here, with their roster featuring some of the best depth in the league, but devoid clear-cut hierarchy. The Nuggets will be drafting the best talent available with this pick according to what we're told, and won't worry about positional overlap. WithKenneth Faried's long-term future being somewhat murky at the moment, though, it makes sense to think about potential replacement options at this stage, particularly if a player like Gordon, who could also be picked much higher, falls to them here. Trading down could also be an option.
From DraftExpress.comhttp://www.draftexpress.com#ixzz325zgI9mk
The super athletic forward is an exciting prospect that I don't think will be available at the 11th spot in the draft, but if he were there and Denver kept their pick – I would like to see Gordon selected. At just 18 years-old, he could be the youngest player in the draft and has tremendous potential to grow into a dominant player. Does he have holes in his game? Yes, mainly there are concerns about his position, ability to defend in the post, and a limited offensive skill set. That doesn't sound too hot.

But Gordon also has been lauded for his work ethic, fundamentals, footwork, defense, passing, and of course his unreal athleticism. The controversy of a Gordon pick for the Nuggets would be the fact that they'd be adding another forward to a roster chalk full of forwards. The point of taking Gordon, to me, is taking the best talent available and worrying about how he'll fit in with the roster later. What if he blossoms into the best forward on the roster? With a later lottery pick, you might be best served taking the best possible talent over need. Check out the highlights on Gordon below.

And yes, Gordon has interviewed with the Nuggets … check out this short interview with him:

CBS Sports crew:

Gary Parrish (updated 5/15) has Denver taking: Nik Stauskas, 6'6" and 207 pound Shooting Guard, Michigan.

The 20 year-old guard is your classic shooting guard, or at least classic in the sense of today’s game. You can put Stauskas on the floor and he’ll hang out on the perimeter and hit three-pointers all day. Plus, he has one thing going for him … a difficult name to spell, which is a Nuggets shooting guard trait! Nik also possess great size for the position and that is much needed for Nuggets guards, other than Evan Fournier.

Zach Harper (updated 5/17) has Denver taking Dario Saric, 6'10" and 223 pound Forward, Cibona Zagreb.

If this was Denver's selection, we'd once again see visions (or Tweets/comments/Facebook posts) Nikoloz Tskitishvili dancing in our heads. A perimeter based big man that doesn't seem to possess elite athleticism.

Matt Moore (updated 4/18) has Denver taking Marcus Smart, 6'3" and 227 pound guard, Oklahoma State. I think Matt is also waiting for the lottery to pay the Nuggets good fortune to update his selections!

We have already discussed Smart, but his strengths are his ability to push the ball in transition, getting to the rim, and his defense. He lacks shooting range at the moment and consistency.

NBA Draft.net: Denver takes James Young the 6'6" and 215 pound Shooting Guard, Kentucky.

I wasn’t overly impressed with Young’s performance in the NCAA tournament, even though he came through on more than a few occasions for the Wildcats’ great run. There just seems to be an inconsistency and sloppiness to his game and there are major concerns about his defense and fundamentals. Is Young going to be the next Nick Young, J.R. Smith type of guy or will he grow his game and find success on the next level as a key player that can be counted on? I am definitely not sold on Young’s potential, but with that said – he’s also just 18 years old and on the right team he could develop.

Those are the three main sources I turn to for NBA mock drafts. If you have a mock you like, please leave it in the comment section and please share your opinions on guys you are digging in this draft, too.

We could go through the second-round picks, but that's such a crapshoot that it may not be worth the time to delve too deeply into the second round picks as we may see some funky stuff happen in that round.



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