With only a handfull of players that can immediately help a team, the 2011 NBA Draft lacks a sense of flavor and content.
And it is very unlikely a quality player will be available by the time the Denver Nuggets draft with the 22nd pick. The latest mock drafts are very favorable with the Nuggets selecting Kenneth Faried, Tobias Harris and Reggie Jackson. Both Harris and Faried will most likely go higher than the Nuggets pick and while Jackson may be there with the 22nd pick, there is a slim chance he’d see minutes or even help the Nuggets during his rookie season.
And with the lack of talent in the draft, many teams are going to attempt to trade their picks. Minnesota, Utah, Toronto and Sacramento have each discussed moving their pick. The Nuggets, on the other hand, aren’t short on movable assets to move up the draft -especially with Raymond Felton, a top-10 point guard available. Sacramento, Detroit and Phoenix may be interested in Felton.
The Kings, who are projected to draft Kemba Walker, would be the perfect fit for Felton. Sacramento has an array of offensive players in Tyreke Evans, DeMarcus Cousins and Marcus Thornton (who is a free agent), but what they lack is a point guard like Felton who thrives as a distributor and leader on the floor.
The Pistons also need a strong leader and pass-first point guard on their team. The Suns may also be another team that may consider Felton as a potential Steve Nash replacement. Felton put up All-Star numbers by running a similar offense in New York.
Of course there aren’t a lot of players to move up to draft, especially with the lack of talent and depth in the Draft:
- DERRICK WILLIAMS - Williams stock is dropping and there isn’t a valid reason why. He quite possible could be the best player in the draft, but Cleveland is prepared to draft Kyrie Irving and Minnesota doesn’t have a need for Williams and with Enes Kanter stock on the rise means Williams may drop to the third or fourth pick. The former Arizona star is a long shot for the Nuggets, unless they are willing to move Danilo Gallinari to move up to the top of the draft, which isn’t likely. But Williams would be a perfect fit for the Nuggets giving them a true No. 1 scorer. He can defend, rebound and brings a winning attitude. There aren’t many players at any level of basketball that can impact a game anywhere on the floor as well as Williams.
- ALEC BURKS – The former CU star makes perfect sense for the Nuggets. They have the assets to move into the lottery and Burks would be the ideal replacement for J.R. Smith. At 20 years old, Burks may not be as explosive as Smith but he could be smoother and more mature. His game has been compared to Brandon Roy, Evan Turner and even the great Clyde Drexler. And unlike most rookies, Burks is a very good defender who has the size (6-foot-6, 193 pounds with a 6-10 wingspan) to lock down a forward as well. Burks struggles shooting the ball, but has been working diligently in the offseason with Chauncey Billups to improve his jump shot.
- JIMMER FREDETTE – Fredette was the best player in college basketball last season, but due to his age and lack of athletic ability Fredette is a fringe lottery pick. However, that has little to do with Fredette’s ability to get the ball in the basket. The most fascinating thing about Fredette is his jump shot, he can hit from practically anywhere on the floor and draws fouls with the best. He may not have the potential that many of the younger player have, but he can play immediately and give a playoff team a dangerous weapon off the bench. He has the speed to drive like Jose Juan Barea, the shooting touch of Mike Bibby and the basketball IQ of Luke Ridnour. There are some concerned about his ability to defend at the next level, but he rated really high on the agility test and can be the closer the Nuggets desperately need. Not to mention with his age (22) and maturity, and being a tough-minded point guard, he would quickly be a favorite of George Karl’s.
- WALKER – Walker measured out to be bigger than many thought, but lacks the size to play shooting guard and the mentality of a point guard. However, Walker could develop into a similar player as Bobby Jackson or Jason Terry. His ability to get hot in a hurry makes him an ideal sixth man in the pros
- Kenneth Faried, Tobias Harris and Josh Selby are also worth taking a look but not quite trading up to draft.
Tags: Alec Burks Bobby Jackson Brandon Roy Chauncey Billups Clyde Drexler Danilo Gallinari DeMarcus Cousins Denver Nuggets Derrick Williams Evan Turner George Karl J.R. Smith Jason Terry Jimmer Fredette Jose Juan Barea Josh JR Smith Kemba Walker Kenneth Faried Luke Ridnour Marcus Thornton Mike Bibby Raymond Felton Reggie Jackson Sacramento Kings Steve Nash Tobias Harris Tyreke Evans