The 2014 NBA Draft finally gets underway tomorrow night. That means the speculation and prognostication are almost over. As fans of the Denver Nuggets wait to find out what the team will do on draft day, here are three potential scenarios for which we should be prepared.
The Good: The Nuggets swap the number 11 pick for Chicago’s picks at numbers 16 and 19, and end up drafting any of the following players: Nik Stauskas (a long shot, since he’s likely to be a top 10 pick), Gary Harris, Tyler Ennis, Zach LaVine, T.J. Warren or James Young. Any combination of those players would give the Nuggets two good, young athletes at positions of need to at least compete for back-up minutes in their first couple of seasons. None of the mid-to-late first round prospects are guaranteed to develop into stars, but given the depth of talent in this year’s draft, odds are at least one of the two mid-round picks would emerge as a future long-term starter for the team. If this scenario plays out on Thursday (or if the Nuggs stick with number 11 and pick Stauskas or Harris), I think most Nuggets fans would be content.
The Bad: The Nuggets keep their number 11 pick and select Dario Saric or Jusuf Nurkic. Saric recently signed a deal with a European team that likely will prevent him from playing in the NBA for at least two years, and Nurkic is a still-developing European big man who reminds me too much of Nikoloz Tskitishvili. If the team drafts either of these players, Nuggets fans are in for another long game of wait-and-see, something we’ve had to endure too much of in Denver over the last decade and a half. That’s not to say any other player that is available at number 11 is guaranteed to make an immediate impact on the team, but I don’t think most Nuggets fans have the patience to wait on the development of a hit-or-miss European prospect who may or may not suit up for the team in the next two to three seasons. If this scenario plays out, I think Tim Connelly and his staff should probably avoid listening to any sports talk radio stations for the next several weeks.
The Unlikely: The Nuggets package Kenneth Faried, Wilson Chandler and the number 11 pick to move up into the top three picks and grab Jabari Parker. In my opinion, Parker is the most well-rounded and NBA-ready player in this year’s draft, and while losing Manimal and Chandler would be painful, it would be worth it to bring a player like Parker to Denver. Parker’s game is most often compared to Carmelo Anthony’s, and regardless of what Nuggets fans think of Melo now, you have to admit it was pretty nice having a player of his caliber wearing our colors back in the day. Parker also doesn’t strike me as having the same hunger for the spotlight that fueled Melo’s desire to play in a larger market. I can’t see this scenario actually playing out, but if the stars align and Jabari Parker dons a Nuggets hat on stage Thursday night, Denver would be the talk of the sports world come Friday morning.
With a little over 24 hours until the draft begins, what are you hoping to see, Nuggets fans? Share your thoughts, hopes, and predictions in the comments below.