The NBA Draft is coming up on October 16, which means The Game Haus will be doing draft profiles for each NBA team. Each day, a new team will be analyzed for their past season, their team needs and projected targets. Today, the Denver Nuggets will be evaluated.
The Denver Nuggets started the 2019-2020 season by trading for Bol Bol, a 7-foot-2 center (and son of Manute Bol) since they did not hold a single draft pick. He only played in seven games in 2020, however and did not have much of an impact.
Even so, the Nuggets were invited into the NBA Bubble and secured the number three seed in the Western Conference playoffs. In a fierce battle with one of the perceived favorites, the Los Angeles Clippers, in the divisional round, the Nuggets have already reached what was expected of them this season. Any further victories just speak to the complete nature of the team.
The Nuggets do have a pick in this draft, in the first round. Trading for more could be on their shopping list, but with the surging Michael Porter, Jr. and Jamal Murray, Denver may want to ride their roster out with only one selection.
The Denver Nuggets have one pick in the 2020 NBA Draft
First Round: Pick No. 22
Defensive rebounding- Although the Nuggets ranked sixth in offensive rebounding, their defensive rebounding left a lot to be desired, ranking at 24th. To increase possessions and cut down on opponents’ points per game (especially put-back points), they need to draft someone to create space in the defensive paint.
Blocks– To go along with the rebounding Denver needs, the big man they pick needs blocking potential as well. It is not a glaring hole, and may seem small, but since the Nuggets are already so complete any weaknesses should be addressed.
Round 1, Pick No. 22: Jalen Smith, PF/C (Maryland)
Jalen Smith has extremely high shot-blocking and rebounding potential for a combo forward/center. Standing at 6-foot-10, he collected 10.5 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game at Maryland. He is truly NBA-ready in those aspects, even if he may need to work on his post-up a bit.
His offensive game is no slouch, either. He scored 15.5 points per game, and shot almost 37 percent from three-point range. Being able to shoot from distance could make a huge case for drafting and using Smith in a small-ball lineup.
There is a chance he will be unavailable, but there are more centers with his skill set that should be. Smith, however, should be the prototype.
Featured image courtesy of Denver Nuggets
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