The 2011 NBA Draft is less than four days away and there is no guarantee who the Denver Nuggets are drafting or even if they will keep their pick in the draft. If they do hold on to the 22nd pick, the following are a few of the players that have come in to workout for the Nuggets and could be around when they draft on Thursday:
- Kenneth Faried - What you see is what you get with Faried. He is undersized power forward, but has a great motor and is a monster on the boards and can make an impact on defense. However, he won’t be much help on offense. Faried can play immediately in the NBA, but through time may not be much more than a backup energy power forward. If selected it would most likely spell the end of Kenyon Martin’s time in a Nuggets uniform. While Faried may help the Nuggets immediately, he would have to earn Karl’s trust early and often to get playing time. While many think he is the next Dennis Rodman, a more logical comparison is a bigger Renaldo Balkman, without all of the bad qualities and twice the good qualities.
- Tobias Harris – Karl said weeks ago the Nuggets will draft smart basketball players and despite being only 19 years old, Harris is one of the smarter players in the draft. He is versatile enough to play both forward positions and can defend at least four positions on the floor. Offensively, he still a work in progress and needs to improve his jump shot but he has above average ballhandling and rebounding skills. Like Faried, Harris would have to show a lot during his rookie season to get playing time, but Harris does have great work ethic and a great motor, not to mention he would be nice fit playing with Arron Afflalo and could replace Wilson Chandler, who is a restricted free agent.
- Chris Singleton – Singleton is a man-child. He has impressive size and athleticism and can already make an impact in the NBA with his defense. He may never turn into a great offensive player at the next level and his motor isn’t at the same level as Faried or Harris, but he showed he has the ability to lead after guiding Florida State to the NCAA Tournament. He is one of the few prospects that has the potential to help the Nuggets immediately and could fill Chandler’s role or Martin’s role.
- Travis Leslie - Leslie may be a long shot to be drafted by the Nuggets, but it wouldn’t be out of the question. He has worked out twice in Denver and brings impressive athleticism. He is a little undersized at shooting guard and isn’t a great shooter, but has quick hands and an ability to block shots on defense. He has been compared to Tony Allen, and if he lives up to those expectations he could be a good late pick in the draft. The issue is he isn’t explosive enough on offense to be an ideal replacement of J.R. Smith.
- Reggie Jackson – Jackson is a Colorado native and has been compared to former Nugget point guard Robert Pack, so it would make sense for the Nuggets to draft him. He has unbelievable athleticism and wingspan, which will make him a valuable defender in the NBA. He is great in transition, but isn’t a great playmaker or shooter. He would be an ideal third point guard for the Nuggets and could in time play next to Ty Lawson.
- Nolan Smith - If Smith was a pure point guard he’d be a guaranteed first round pick, but he isn’t a great passer or playmaker so Smith is a fringe first round pick. Smith has great qualities that could give him a long career in the NBA. He is a leader on the floor, plays tough defense and is extremely smart and coachable. He isn’t the sexiest pick and may take a while to find a role in the NBA, but think CJ Watson or Antonio Daniels. Smith also would most likely be the third point guard on the team, but could earn some minutes here or there if he has a little Anthony Carter in him.
- Justin Harper – Some people consider Harper as the next Brian Cook, others think he could be a more complete player. The one guarantee is Harper can get the ball in the basket, and can do it from deep. And if he decides that is his role, he could become a Robert Horry or Channing Frye. If Harper can show a consistent outside jumper he could find playing time during his rookie season.
- Jordan Hamilton -Hamilton is kind of an old school player. He doesn’t get by with his athleticism as the modern day player does. He gets by with his feel for the game, he is good shooter and a good ballhandler. He also isn’t to shabby on defense. His ceiling isn’t extremely high, but he has the potential to be a fringe starter or a nice role player on a playoff team. Hamilton, like Harris, needs to show he is ready to play in the NBA to earn playing time. Hamilton could become another Chandler or become the next Reece Gaines.
- Darius Morris – Morris isn’t a sexy pick. He won’t light up the scoreboard, but he has great size and ballhandling skills and has potential to be a very solid starter in the NBA. He is like a younger Andre Miller, he can’t really shoot the ball but is great distributor and driver. And despite being only a sophomore, he has great leadership skills and led Michigan to the tournament. He might take a year or two to get the feel of the League, but that shouldn’t stop him from using his first year to develop.
- Tyler Honeycutt – Honeycutt is a typical UCLA player. Plays hard, plays smart, not extremely skilled on offense but is somebody you want on your team. Honeycutt is extremly long and is rail thin. He could develop into another Tayshaun Prince, or even a Josh Childress. I liken him to Thabo Sefolosha. No doubt Honeycutt is a Karl-type player. However, there are questions about his strength and shooting touch, so he may not help the Nuggets immediately.
HONORABLE MENTION: Jeremy Tyler, Malcolm Lee, Iman Shumpert, JaJuan Johnson, Charles Jenkins.
Topics: Anthony Carter, Arron Afflalo, Brian Cook, Channing Frye, Charles Jenkins, Chris Singleton, CJ Watson, Darius Morris, Dennis Rodman, Denver Nuggets, George Karl, Iman Shumpert, Jajuan Johnson, Jeremy Tyler, Jordan Hamilton, Josh Childress, Justin Harper, Kenneth Faried, Kenyon Martin, Malcolm Lee, Nolan Smith, Reece Gaines, Reggie Jackson, Renaldo Balkman, Robert Horry, Robert Pack, Tayshaun Prince, Thabo Sefolosha, Tobias Harris, Tony Allen, Travis Leslie, Ty Lawson, Tyler Honeycutt, Wilson Chandler