Since drafting Carmelo Anthony in 2003, the draft has been a traveshamockery for Nuggets fans. In 2007 and 2008, the Nuggets didn’t even have a pick and in 2006 and 2004, their only pick was traded for a future draft choice. The only player that has really come out of their drafts in the past 5 years has been Julius Hodge from NC State, and we all know how that has worked out. When Wark and Co. actually do make selections, they aren’t all that bad. They selected future all-star and PG for the NBA Finals contenders Orlando Magic, and a PF that already has a ring, in Leon Powe. I’m sure the Nuggets would have loved to have Jameer and Leon in the Lakers series.
Well, with the past behind us, the Nuggets have only the 34th overall pick in this year’s rather shallow NBA draft. I’m going to assume that for the first time in years, that the Nuggets will keep the draft pick and n0t sell it away or trade it for a future pick, so they don’t have to worry about the salary burden this year. A few mock drafts around the web have us taking Jermaine Taylor, Jonas Jerebko, or Victor Claver. You probably had the same reaction I did…..Who???
Jermaine Taylor is a highly athletic 2 guard from relatively obscure Central Florida. He averaged 26 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 3-pointers a game. He’s not a good ball handler, but his jump shot more than makes up for it. He plays good defense and could be a Dahntay Jones with a jump shot, if allowed to develop.
Jonas Jerebko is a 210, 6-9 SF from Sweden. Jonas played in the Italian league last year, and didn’t really impress with his 9 ppg, and 5 rpg. He’s not a good ball handler or passer but has active hands on the defensive end. He gets a lot of defelctions and grabs every D-board in his vicinity. Noting how well the Nuggets have drafted foreign players, i would stay away.
Victor Claver is a 210, 6-10 PF from Spain. Even with his height, he projects to be a small PF or SF in the NBA. He needs to get some weight on him, if he ever wants to be an impact player in the NBA. Claver is obviously a Sports Center baby. He finishes at the rim, and he shoots 3’s but that’s about it. He has no mid-range game and can’t handle the ball well. I don’t think anyone will take a chance on him because of his serious knee injury he sustained last year. Someone might be able to grab him as a steal if he can come back strong from the injury, but I don’t think the Nuggets will.
I think the Nuggets need to find a PG or a big man down low. A few guys slated to go in the 2nd round that I think can fill the Nuggets needs would be Patty Mills, Darren Collison, Jeff Pendergraph, and Toney Douglas.
Patty Mills would be my first choice out of these 5 but beacuse of his rising stock in the past few weeks, I doubt will still be around in the 2nd round. He’s an Australian that went to college at St. Mary’s. If not for an injury to his right hand, he would have led the Gaels to a NCAA tournament birth last year. Mills would be a great compliment to Chancey Billups because of his explosive first step and his quickness when handling the ball. He loves to push the ball in transition and can get his hands on the ball on the defensive end. He’s not a great scorer but can make an open jump shot when it’s needed. Once in the NBA, his percentages will rise on his jump shot and will become a very good player, that can both score and create for others.
Darren Collison spent all 4 years at UCLA and has developed into quite the floor general. He’s not going to wow you with his offensive skills, but he can make shots when he needs to, and can get to the rim. Collison also gets it done on the defensive end, with 1.6 steals a game. He is an efficient player that will never be an all-star in the NBA. He won’t be a starter in the league but would be a huge upgrade from Anthony Carter. They both play good defense but that’s where the similarities end. Collison actually has a jump shot, and he makes good decisions.
Toney Douglas was the best player in the ACC last year. It wasn’t Tyler Hansbrough, Gerald Henderson, Jon Scheyer, or Greivis Vazquez. Douglas is a thick scoring PG weighing in at almost 200 lbs. He averaged 21 ppg and only 2.5 turnovers. This is great considering he had to handle the ball on every possesion for his Florida State team. This might not be the best fit for the Nugget because he’s not a great passer. I think he could develop into a great scorer in this league though.
Jeff Pendergraph is a 240 lbs, 6’10” center from Arizona State. Pendergraph was overlooked at ASU because he was playing next to 1st round hopeful James Harden. While Harden is obviously the better talent, a lot of times on the court Pendergraph was the best player out there. He has a 7’1″ wingspan and a 35 inch vertical to cause problems in the paint. He is a hard worker and doesn’t need the ball on offense to be effective. He can clean up the boards with the best of them, and could be a good role player in the upcoming years.
Hopefully the Nuggets don’t try to look overseas for their next draft pick. The Nuggets don’t need the next big thing but rather a good role player for the upcoming season.