Denver Nuggets: Why they shouldn’t be upset about trading Donovan Mitchell

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BROOKLYN, NY – June 22: Donovan Mitchell smiles with Adam Silver after being the 13th overall pick by the Denver Nuggets at the 2017 NBA Draft on June 22, 2017, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

Reason #1: Mitchell was never going to play/get drafted by the Nuggets

Mathew Huff already outlined this point in a previous article, but I’m going to add-on to some of the points he made.

Mitchell was picked for the Utah Jazz with the intention of trading him to the Utah Jazz. The Nuggets didn’t need a player like Mitchell on their roster, and if they did end up keeping their draft pick in 2017, they likely wouldn’t have taken him.

The Nuggets already had several young guards on their roster teeming with potential. Emmanuel Mudiay, although he was already starting to look like a failed experiment, could still have blossomed into something and only had a year of experience in the league. Jamal Murray and Malik Beasley had both been taken in the previous year’s draft, and Malik Beasley already had a very similar skill set to Mitchell’s. Not to mention Gary Harris, who had become a starter after a couple years of riding the pine and had a semi-similar skill set to Mitchell’s as well.

So, the Nuggets didn’t need any more guards. Especially one who was not supposed to be a good ball-handler, especially in the NBA. What the Nuggets did need, however, was some forwards who could shoot the 3-pointer.

The power forwards and centers on the 2016-17 Nuggets roster combined to shoot an average 3-point percentage of 19.7%(min. 20 games played). That wasn’t going to cut it for a team who would attempt over 30 3-pointers a game the next season. So, they orchestrated a trade for two tall 4s who oozed with 3-point shooting potential.

So, Mitchell was never going to actually be drafted by the Nuggets. And even if Denver did actually choose him with the 13th selection for their own team, he likely would’ve been buried on the depth chart and wouldn’t get the opportunities to thrive in an offensive or defensive system as he did in Utah. Part of the reason he was so good last year was he was thrown into the NBA head first and was forced to be a playoff team’s number one option.

Who knows how good he would have been last year as the 2nd option at shooting guard for the Nuggets.

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