Feb, 8 2012; Nashville, TN, USA; Vanderbilt Commodores guard John Jenkins (23) celebrates with guard Kendren Johnson (2) during a time out against the Louisiana State Tigers during the second half at Memorial Gym. The Commodores beat the Tigers 76-61. Mandatory Credit: Don McPeak-US PRESSWIRE

Nuggets Should Draft John Jenkins

The Denver Nuggets don’t really have any glaring needs going into the offseason, but if there was one it would be shooting the ball (and also defending the perimeter).

The Nuggets were the third worst 3-point shooting team in the playoffs and were tied for 23rd during the regular season. Their best statistical shooters from behind the arc last season were Arron Afflalo at .398 percent and Ty Lawson at .365. However, neither one of the two is considered a dangerous shooter.

Enter John Jenkins, who one of the most underrated players in the NBA Draft. Jenkins is a prolific scorer, with insanely  deep range. He has one of the quickest releases in basketball and can get his shot off over just about anybody. He also has good enough ballhandling skills to set up his own shot.

However, where he is going to be special at the next level is his ability as a spot up shooter. He has a super quick release and can get his shot off with great fundamentals given even the slightest bit of room. He also mirrors Ray Allen and Rip Hamilton with his relentless ability to work off screens and finding open spots on the floor.

It’s fair to say he was the best shooter in college basketball (edging out Kentucky’s Doron Lamb). Jenkins shot over .40 percent during each of his three seasons at Vanderbilt and raised his game each year, finishing his career with a 19.9 points average during his junior year. He barely misses from the charity stripe, too, and at a workout back in May, Jenkins nailed 12 of 15 shots from NBA range.

Some scouts may worry how Jenkins will matchup against larger defenders in the NBA, but at Vanderbilt he had to get creative to score the ball since he was the focal point of the defense – which would sometimes throw two to three defenders at him.

Jenkins also is not tall, listed at 6-foot-4, but he has a 6-8 wingspan. He is also more athletic than most people give him credit. His max vertical leap was right on par with top prospect Michael Kidd Gilchrist.

The best comparison for him at the next level is JJ Redick and Anthony Morrow, but if he ends up with the Nuggets he may be the best shooter George Karl has had since Wesley Person.

It also doesn’t hurt that Jenkins is a fan of Corey Brewer, Denver’s energy player off the bench, from his days back in Florida.

Of course the question is where do the Nuggets draft Jenkins? They could draft him with the 20th pick, which may too high for a player that will just be a shooter at the next level. Or they can hope he slides to 38th. They also could use both their second round picks (38th and 50th) and try to get another late first round pick. The Chicago Bulls (29th) and Golden State (30th) each would be two teams willing to trade their late picks. The Bulls are the more likely, since there are talks that they aren’t going to pick up CJ Watson’s player option and they are also expected to part ways with Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewer. Trading out of the first round would also help cut costs.

Jenkins isn’t going to lift the Nuggets over the top, but he’d fit a need on a squad that doesn’t have many.

 

Tags: Anthony Morrow Arron Afflalo Chicago Bulls CJ Watson Corey Brewer Denver Nuggets Doron Lamb Golden State Warriors JJ Redick John Jenkins Kyle Korver Michael Kidd Gilchrist Ray Allen Rip Hamilton Ronnie Brewer Ty Lawson Vanderbilt

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