The NBA Draft is just weeks away, which means NBA Draftmas is back. Each day, The Game Haus will review a team’s past season, their team needs and targets. Draftmas continues today with the 2018 Denver Nuggets NBA Draft profile.
The Denver Nuggets’ season culminated in what was essentially a play-in-game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, in which the winner would claim the eighth playoff spot. While it does not seem like much, more than half of the franchises cannot say that their 82nd game mattered.
The Nuggets finished with a 46-36 record and one of the league’s highest scoring offenses, averaging 110 points per game. Sadly, this team needed to hit that average to win, as they gave up just over 108 points per game, which was the ninth worst in the NBA.
Going forward, the Nuggets have to make drastic defensive improvements. This group proved they can score on any team at anytime, but that is about it. The phrase, “You are who your best player is,” is overused, but true, especially in the NBA. While the Nuggets’ star center, Nikola Jokic, is not an incompetent defender, his lack of athleticism keeps him from making flash plays or closing out on shooters. However, his offensive game is so refined and versatile that he more than makes up for his defensive lapses.
What this draft and offseason will come down to is how the Nuggets plan to address this issue. They already brought in Paul Millsap to aid Jokic in the post. But they will have to find guards and forwards who will keep the opposition from penetrating and keep Jokic out from bad matchups resulting from switching.
Picks and Needs
The Denver Nuggets have three picks in this year’s NBA Draft.
First round: No. 14
Second round: No. 43, No. 58
It’s hard for the Nuggets to find a player in this slot that will address a pressing need. For one, there is not a position that they can undoubtedly upgrade at the No. 14 spot. Defense is the priority this offseason, but taking the best player available is never a bad default strategy.
Targets and Thoughts
Pick No. 14: Robert Williams, PF, Texas A&M
I would like to point out that in this series that The Game Haus is writing, Mohamed Bamba has not yet been picked. Now, I will not be selecting him at this spot because that is not realistic. But, if a player of Bamba’s caliber falls this far, the Nuggets should jump at the chance to take him.
Robert Williams is not the ideal forward in today’s NBA, but is a good fit for the Nuggets. Physically, he is similar in size to Millsap, but far more athletic. He has a massive wingspan of 7-foot-6 for his 6-foot-9 height and is a capable defender. Williams would pair nicely with Jokic because there would always be a strong interior defender on the court.
Williams is relatively unrefined from an offensive standpoint. Apart from not having great range, he is a below-average free-throw shooter. Thankfully, he will not have to shoulder a substantial offensive load. But he would be a good fit as the center in a small-ball lineup. If Williams can consistently play hard and with high energy, he can contribute from Day 1.
Pick No. 43: Grayson Allen, SG, Duke
This is probably the most popular second-round pick in any of these profiles and mock drafts, so I will just add to the madness. Everyone has an opinion on Grayson Allen. When you look at him as a prospect, he can do a few things well. He has a developed offensive game, knows how to take coaching and operate in a system with better players and can be a willing defender. On the other hand, he lacks the height and weight of a traditional shooting guard. He also will not have the ability to beat above-average defenders off the dribble.
Pick No. 58: Kenrich Williams, SF, TCU
At 6-foot-7, 210 pounds, Williams offers any NBA team a good option as a power forward in a small-ball lineup. His potential is likely to be severely capped given that he would enter the NBA at 23 years old. His best skill is his rebounding ability for his size.
Featured image from Wickipedia
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