After selecting Christian Braun and Peyton Watson at picks No. 21 and 30, respectively. The Denver Nuggets traded with the Portland Trail Blazers to get back into the second round and select Frenchman, Ismael Kamagate.
Everybody knew that the Nuggets had a massive hole at the back up center position leading up to the draft. Although, after seeing players like Walker Kessler, Christian Koloko and Jaylin Williams all fly off the board before the Nuggets had a chance to pick, many assumed the team would shift gears.
Yet, Denver saw something in Kamagate, who at 6’11”, 230-pounds, was one of the more highly-regarded international prospects in the draft. So much so that they made the move to snag him at 46.
While playing for Paris in the French LNB Pro A league, Kamagate averaged 11.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game in 27.1 minutes per contest. All of which was good enough for him to be named an LNB All-Star and the LNB Pro A Best Defender for the 2021-22 season. Cementing himself as an elite interior defender and an athletic, above-the-rim center on both ends of the court.
Long, high-energy, athletic, and strong, efficient finishing are just a few words to describe Kamagate.
Obviously, he’s not going to fill the role that Demarcus Cousins had with the team last year, who already has an established post game and playmaking ability on offense. However, Ismael Kamagate does have the mobility, athleticism and potential to become an elite NBA shot blocker, as well as a deadly finisher in the pick-and-roll game. Which are two things the Nuggets currently don’t have on the roster.
Much like Peyton Watson, Kamagate feels to be more of a project who will take some time to adjust. Although, it appears that the Denver Nuggets won’t be relying on his services next season anyway, per Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports.
Even though the Paris native projects to be a draft and stash player, he could easily develop into the exact type of prospect Denver needs to help them remain competitive for years to come.
While you could make the argument that the Denver Nuggets should have gone all-in for a back up center earlier in the draft, say at pick No. 21 with players like Kessler and Koloko still on the board. I don’t believe that this was as pressing of an issue as acquiring versatile perimeter defenders like Braun and Watson. I also don’t see Kessler or Koloko as being that much better than Kamagate either.
While Ismael Kamagate appears to be a pick for the future, there weren’t many better options at this point in the draft anyway, particularly if you’re the Denver Nuggets.