Latest ESPN mock draft has Nuggets taking March Madness darling

Villanova v Marquette
Villanova v Marquette / Patrick McDermott/GettyImages

Overreacting to small sample sizes is always fun, and that’s exactly what tends to happen this time of year as experts are willing to change all prior convictions about prospects after one or two NCAA tournament performances.

Whether right or wrong, every year we see players who break out shoot up draft boards, and players who disappoint start to plummet. In some ways, March Madness does offer a unique opportunity to get a look at prospects under the brightest lights. The playing field has been leveled in many ways; some players rise to the occasion and others shrink.

The scrutiny over one tournament game at a neutral site against a random opponent can end up holding more weight than a lifetime’s worth of work. Sometimes it pays off, and other times it looks very dumb in retrospect.

2024 ESPN mock draft

With that in mind, ESPN draft experts Jonathan Givony and Jeremy Woo collaborated on a fresh 2024 mock draft following the first weekend of March Madness. The mock came out on Monday morning on

The experts have the Nuggets picking 29th overall, the second to last pick of the first round, and taking Tyler Kolek out of Marquette. Kolek, a senior point guard for the Golden Eagles is an excellent playmaker and scorer, who has impressed through two rounds of the tournament and has his team set to take on North Carolina State in the Sweet 16.

The book on Tyler Kolek

Kolek missed the entire Big East tournament with an injury but was able to return in time for the big dance and has shown out. He’s an older prospect, he’s somewhat undersized at 6’3”, and he’s not an overly impressive athlete.

But Kolek has the poise and presence of a seasoned veteran. He can manipulate a defense and methodically get to his spots at will. In the second round against Colorado, everyone in the gym knew that Kolek wanted to go left and get into the lane, and yet he was able to get there at will.

How can he help the Nuggets?

That’s the kind of skill that can’t be measured with statistics, but Kolek could step in and immediately be a steady presence for the Nuggets bench. He could run the offense when Jamal Murray and/or Nikola Jokic are off the floor and could be a nice insurance policy if Kentavious Caldwell-Pope leaves in free agency.

Kolek may never be an NBA star, but he looks like a ready-made NBA rotation player. That could be a very valuable asset for a championship-caliber find, and he could be a steal at the end of the first round.