Draft day was extremely busy for the Denver Nuggets, as General Manager Tim Connelly made good on his promise that the team would make bold moves to improve their roster. Here’s a rundown of all the action you may have missed.
- Before the draft even started, the Nuggets got the party started with a trade that sent Evan Fournier and pick number 56 in the draft to the Orlando Magic for Arron Afflalo. The trade marks Afflalo’s return to Denver; he previously played for the team between 2009 and 2012 before being dealt to Orlando. Last season, he averaged a career high 18.2 points per game and shot 42.7 percent from beyond the three-point line. His shooting stroke and ability to score fills two needs for the Nuggets and he will likely compete with Randy Foye for the starting shooting guard spot and also see some time at small forward.
- The Nuggets used pick number 11 to draft Creighton’s Doug McDermott, but almost immediately sent his draft rights along with power forward Anthony Randolph to the Chicago Bulls in exchange for the draft rights of the players picked at numbers 16 and 19.
- With the number 16 pick, the Bulls selected Jusuf Nurkic, a big-bodied center out of Bosnia, on behalf of the Denver Nuggets. I’m on record as not loving the pick since Nurkic is essentially an unproven, still-developing project from overseas, but hopefully he’ll flourish in the NBA and make me eat my words.
- With the number 19 pick, the Bulls selected Gary Harris, a versatile shooting guard out of Michigan State, on behalf of the Denver Nuggets. Harris was quickly labeled as the potential “steal of the draft” by ESPN’s talking heads, and they might be right. Harris is a solid shooter who can score, but he also is an above average defender. If he can continue to improve on the defensive end of the court, he could provide the Nuggets with the perimeter defender they sorely lacked last season. Harris has a shot to compete for minutes next season, and I hope he comes into the league looking to make all the teams that passed on him pay for their mistake.
- In the second round, the Nuggets used pick 41 to select another European big man, taking Nikola Jokic, a 6′ 11″ 19-year old out of Serbia. Most draft experts predict Jokic will play overseas for at least a couple of seasons, so it’s not likely that he’ll suit up for the Nuggets in the near future.
Overall, it was a big day for the team and one that I think is a net positive. Although I don’t love the Nurkic and Jokic picks, I like what Afflalo brings to the team and I’m excited to see how Harris’ game translates to the next level. What do you think, Nuggets fans? Are you satisfied with the moves Tim Connelly and the team made yesterday, or do you think they made some missteps in the first round of the draft? Share your thoughts in the comments below.