Seemingly taking a backseat to all the Kevin Love to Denver trade rumors, is that the Nuggets still hold the eleventh pick in this year’s draft and yet there seems to be no consensus on what prospect the Nuggets will take. Given the team’s recent workouts though of potential lottery picks such as Duke forward Rodney Hood, UCLA guard Zach LaVine, Syracuse guard Tyler Ennis, Kentucky guard James Young and Michigan St. guard Gary Harris, the picture is becoming clearer of who Denver may target at eleven. You can now add two more prospects to that list of potential selections for the Nuggets at eleven, as the team recently attended a workout featuring National Player of the Year Doug McDermott and Big Ten Player of the Year Nik Stauskas. According to ESPN’s Chad Ford the Nuggets alongside the Kings, Timberwolves and Warriors watched the two projected lottery picks workout in Chicago yesterday. It does give me some pause though, that neither McDermott or Stauskas came to Denver for a workout and chose instead to workout for the team in Chicago.
McDermott is as decorated as any college basketball player we’ve seen in the past several years, he finished his career at Creighton with 3,150 points and ranks fifth on the NCAA Division I scoring list. Last season for the Blue Jays, McDermott averaged 26.7 points and 7.0 rebounds per game, while shooting 53% from the field and 45% from the three-point line. He’s a deadly shooter, with good mechanics and very good touch from both the outside and inside. McDermott is a crafty scorer who scores in a variety of ways and what he lacks in athleticism or size, he makes up with his basketball IQ and skills. He would take much of the scoring load or pressure off of Ty Lawson and Danilo Gallinari, while also adding a high character player and great teammate to Denver’s locker room, that I’m sure Brian Shaw would embrace. McDermott does have some questions though about his ability to create his own shot at the next level but, his knack for always finding a way to score should help him finish over bigger or more athletic defenders in the NBA. He could be a defensive liability as he gets bullied on the block a lot but, he doesn’t lack effort on the defensive end and I think Shaw’s defensive acumen, could help improve “Dougie McBuckets” defensive skills. I think the ceiling for McDermott is an undersized Dirk Nowitzki and he could be available for the Nuggets to take at pick eleven.
Stauskas meanwhile is arguably the best shooter in this class, the sweet shooting Canadian shot 44% from beyond the arc in two seasons with Michigan. He averaged 17.5 points, 3.3 assists and 2.9 rebound per game for the Wolverines last season, while also earning second team All-American honors. Stauskas would fill an immediate need for the Nuggets at the two guard spot and would be a upgrade in my opinion over Randy Foye and Evan Fournier. He has good size for a two guard at 6’6″ and would be a very good compliment for Ty Lawson and Nate Robinson in the backcourt, could you imagine all the wide open transition threes Stauskas could get playing with those two?. The former Wolverines star isn’t just strictly a shooter though, he can shoot off the dribble or coming off screens, get to the rim and finish and showed an improved ability this year to handle the ball, becoming a dual threat in the pick and roll. He also, like McDermott is an unselfish player, good passer and has a high basketball IQ that coach Brian Shaw would love. Now Stauskas does need to add some bulk to his frame to be able to consistently finish at the next level and his ability to defend must drastically improve. I don’t think Coach Shaw will tolerate the lack of efficiency and effort Stauskas gives on the defensive end, as he looks lost more often than not on that end of the floor. Stauskas reminds me of a combination of Klay Thompson and J.J. Redick, given his ability to shoot from anywhere on the floor and handle the ball in pick and roll situations. He might be the best player available when the Nuggets are on the clock next Thursday and would be a great shooter to add to Denver’s core. What do you think of Doug McDermott and Nik Stauskas? and How would they fit here in Denver?…leave me your thoughts in the comment section below!.