What to expect from the Denver Nuggets in the 2022 NBA Draft

With the 2022 NBA Draft just moments away, it’s always fun to imagine what teams are thinking about right before the event begins. Sometimes, there are surprise trades that nobody sees coming, some of which work out for both sides, like the Luka Doncic and Trae Young trade. Then again, there are also some that do not.

The Denver Nuggets are in an interesting position in this year’s draft. As they currently sit, they have plenty of directions that they can go and there are plenty of names the team’s been linked to in possible trades.

Of course, it’s hard to predict exactly what player the Nuggets are going after, but one thing’s for sure, draft night is step one in the right direction for what’s expected to be a very big offseason in Denver.

The moves that the Denver Nuggets make on draft night, as well as throughout the offseason, can impact if they do or don’t win an NBA championship. Meaning that it’s up to Nuggets’ GM, Calvin Booth, to bring in the right pieces that would put the team over the top and right into championship contention.

Here are a few things that everyone can expect Denver to be doing on draft night.

Be Aggressive 

Calvin Booth has a lot on his to-do list this offseason, so, in order for the Nuggets to get better he needs to be aggressive. There would be no reason for Booth not to be aggressive since the time to win for Denver is right now. So, I fully expect them to turn over every stone they can on draft night.

This could mean trading for a veteran like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope or even trading up for someone who’s beginning to fall in the draft. The Denver Nuggets will no doubt be aggressive, not just tonight in the draft but for the entire offseason. Especially when you consider that Calvin Booth has no attachments to this current Denver Nuggets’ roster.

That being said, I believe that it is highly unlikely that Denver trades any of their core pieces tonight, particularly guard, Monte Morris. As reported by Mike Singer of The Denver Post.

“Just because there’s a lot of interest league wide in Monte Morris does not mean the Nuggets are moving him. Source told me this morning it’s highly unlikely he’s getting traded tonight”.

Monte Morris could still be moved this offseason but it’s probably not going to be on draft night unless the Nuggets get what they’re looking for. There’s still plenty of time for a trade to go down.

Maybe Denver only moves Will Barton on draft night or maybe they wait, truthfully, it’s hard to say what the Nuggets are going to do. What I can say is that the motto hasn’t changed this offseason for the franchise. Being the aggressor this summer is absolutely necessary in order for this offseason to be considered a success.

Improve Defensively 

The Denver Nuggets currently hold the 21st and the 30th overall selection in the 2022 NBA Draft. Which means that there are plenty of directions the team can go, especially after the JaMychal Green trade. Which freed up a roster spot and additional cap space.

Regardless of whether the Nuggets trade for a veteran defensive player or draft a young player who they think can make an impact defensively. It’s no secret that Denver knows they need to improve on that side of the floor, the question is how do they do it.

The team will more than likely look to improve in a variety of areas throughout the summer, whether that be obtaining a stingy wing defender or a defensive-minded guard to slot in next to Jamal Murray. Although, chances are that draft night will be the first step for Denver to seriously improve on the defensive side of the ball.

We don’t yet know what position or who the player will be, but by the end of the night I expect the Nuggets will have gotten better defensively thanks to the addition of a new player not currently on the roster.

Acquire Instant-Impact Players

Over the last few NBA drafts, the Denver Nuggets have been a little more open to take on “project” players. For example, nobody thought Bones Hyland was going to be this good in his first season and the odds were stacked against him making an immediate impact from the beginning. Particularly since Nuggets’ head coach, Michael Malone, doesn’t normally offer rookies a lot of minutes in their first NBA season.

Zeke Nnaji and RJ Hampton were two other players that had a lot of upside but were never drafted to play right away.

This year, I suspect that the Nuggets may be looking at things a little differently. It’s more likely now than ever that Denver will look for more NBA-ready players instead of a high-upside type prospect, assuming they do hold on to their draft picks.

Now, if the team can find both, that’s great and is probably the best-case scenario. Although, they’re probably going to have to choose between one or the other. So, with the pressure now put on this roster to win sooner as opposed to later, with the team supposedly entering a “championship-or-bust” season. The Nuggets will be more likely to look for a player who can make an immediate impact with the franchise.

If Denver instead opts to trade both of their picks this year, then it will be for a player who’s expected to step in right away and contribute.

Whatever the Nuggets do on draft night, they should come out on the other end as a better team. With the amount of assets Booth has acquired, it’s up to him to take advantage of these assets to improve the team.

It’s certainly going to be an interesting draft night, not only got Nuggets fans but for the entire NBA. It’s been relatively quiet in the moments leading up to the draft in terms of blockbuster trades or major acquisitions, but I suspect to see plenty more as the night progresses. Whether or not that includes the Denver Nuggets, we’ll have to wait and see.

Either way, if the Nuggets decide to keep both picks, trade for a veteran or even trade up in the draft, they will have plenty of avenues they can go down to make this team better. Only time will tell if Denver can capitalize on their assets and come out of the 2022 NBA Draft feeling good about the moves they’ve made.