2 potential Nuggets draft picks pull out of NBA draft to return to college

Strength and agility testing at the NBA Draft Combine
Strength and agility testing at the NBA Draft Combine / Anadolu/GettyImages

The Nuggets don’t have many ways to meaningfully improve their roster this offseason, but one asset at their disposal is the 28th overall pick in the draft this June. The front office will likely float the pick on the market and see if they can trade it for a helpful veteran role player who would provide immediate assistance.

But if they do use the pick they’ll likely want to add a player with some college experience who can come in right away and fill a need off the bench. They struck gold a couple of seasons ago drafting a proven winner in Christian Braun. Braun was fresh off helping the Kansas Jayhawks win a national championship and stepped right in as a key role player off the bench for the Nuggets as a rookie.

Nuggets targeting successful role players with 28th pick

That seemed like a successful strategy so it stands to reason that Denver may want to replicate that approach and look at players who performed well in college. Two players who made sense at the end of the first round were Alex Karaban from UConn and Johnell Davis from FAU. 

Karaban was a key contributor for the Huskies, helping them to back-to-back championships. He seems like the kind of good wing defender who could step right into the NBA and help a contending team from the jump.

Davis made a name for himself at FAU, helping the team go on a Cinderella run to the National Championship game in 2023. He has the chops to be a successful backup point guard in the NBA in short order.

Davis and Karaban to return to school

But unfortunately for the Nuggets, both players decided to pull out of the draft process and return to school. Karaban will go back to UConn and try to help the team pull off an incredible three-peat. Davis, on the other hand, will be transferring to Arkansas where he will play for John Calipari.

There’s no guarantee that either of these players was even on the Nuggets’ radar, but they both fit the profile of what Calvin Booth should be looking for. Well, it’s a moot point now as neither one will be available for the team to draft this summer. That means back to the drawing board to scout some other college prospects.