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BSN Denver NBA Mock Draft 2.0: Nuggets find help on the wing

Harrison Wind Avatar
June 14, 2018

Welcome to draft week. This time next Thursday the Nuggets will be putting the finishing touches on their big board ahead of a big night for the franchise. Last week, ESPN reported that Denver could use the No. 14 pick to get off of an unwanted contract, but those talks seem like they’ve cooled a bit.

The Nuggets want to make a pick at 14 and find a way to improve their roster heading into a playoffs-or-bust season. But can they find someone to contribute immediately next year in the middle of the first round? In BSN Denver’s NBA Mock Draft 2.0, they did.

1. PHOENIX SUNS

Deandre Ayton – Center – Age 19.8 – 7-foot-1,  243 pounds – Arizona

18.2 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 1.8 SPG

Stats: 20.1 PPG, 11.6 RPG, 61.2% FG

After spending his last two years of high school and lone college season in Arizona, it seems likely that the Suns will make Ayton the first overall pick next month. Physically, Ayton is one of the more developed big man prospects in recent memory. He’ll immediately be regarded as one of the most athletic front court players in the league and has an inside-outside game to boot. Questions remain about his defense, but Ayton will give the Suns an exciting outlook and solid foundation alongside Devin Booker. – Wind

2. SACRAMENTO KINGS

Marvin Bagley III – Power Forward/Center – Age 19.1 – 6-foot-11, 234 pounds – Duke

Stats: 21.0 PPG, 11.1 RPG, 61.4% FG

Bagley could lead all rookies in scoring next season. He’s that gifted and skilled on the offensive end of the floor right now. Plus, Bagley is the type of player whose game is more suited for the NBA rather than college because of better floor spacing. While concerns lie around if he has the defensive upside to log a significant amount of minutes at center, his feel for the game, at least on the offensive end, is rare. With Doncic sliding, the Kings go with the frontrunner for Rookie of the Year second overall. -Wind

3. ATLANTA HAWKS

Jaren Jackson Jr – Center – Age 18.6 – 6-foot-11, 240 pounds – Michigan State

Stats: 10.9 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 3.0 BPG

Jackson Jr.’s counting numbers might not look that impressive, but that’s largely due to the fact that minutes were hard to come by with the glut of big men at Michigan State. Jackson Jr. has an ideal skill set to play center in the modern NBA. He swats everything in sight, knocks down the three-point shot at a consistent rate and has an advanced handle for someone his size. His instincts and coordination are scary. Jackson Jr. could become a star, but the team that takes him might have to be patient. He doesn’t turn 19 until September. – Clark

4. MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES

Luka Doncic – Guard – Age 19.1 – 6-foot-8, 228 pounds – Real Madrid

Stats (All Competition):  14.5 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 4.6 APG

Doncic has played at the highest level in Europe since he was 16. The EuroLeague, where Doncic just won a championship and Most Valuable Player trophy, is a much higher level of competition than the NCAA. What Doncic has already accomplished in his three-year professional career is unparalleled. He’s an ultra-high IQ player with a pure stroke and the vision of a point guard but can play off the ball too. The only knocks on Doncic center around his athleticism, defense and burst. He’s arguably the best European prospect of all-time. Doncic is the No. 1 player on my board but the concerns about his defense are legitimate. – Wind

5. DALLAS MAVERICKS

Michael Porter Jr. – Small Forward/Power Forward – Age 19.8 – 6-foot-10, 214 pounds – Missouri

Stats: (2016 U18 FIBA Americas): 15.8 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 2.4 APG

Porter Jr. has great size for a player whose natural position at the next level is small forward. He was Rivals’ top-ranked recruit coming out of high school, but back surgery limited him to a grand total of 53 minutes across three games at the collegiate level. He’s got a gorgeous jumper. His handle needs work. How his back checks out will determine how high he goes. Has he fully recovered? – Clark

6. ORLANDO MAGIC

Mohamed Bamba – Center – Age 19.9 – 7-foot, 207 pounds – Texas

Stas: 12.9 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 3.7 BPG

The Harlem, New York native has a 9-foot-8 standing reach, which means he can nearly touch the rim without jumping. Bamba is a physical freak who could become an elite rim protector with a jump shot if everything breaks right. Bamba averaged 3.7 blocks per game in college. He can be intimidating, but there are legitimate questions about his strength, motor and willingness to be physical. – Clark

7. CHICAGO BULLS

Wendell Carter Jr – Center – Age 19.0 – 6-foot-11, 263 pounds – Duke

Stats: 13.5 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 2.1 BPG

Duke’s other big man is viewed as one of the more NBA-ready prospects in the draft. He’s strong enough to bang with centers down low but also shot 41 percent from three and a hair under 74 percent from the line last year as Duke. He projects as someone who will be able to do a bit of everything next season on offense. Will he be able to defend in space? That’s the biggest question surrounding the sometimes slow-footed Carter at the next level. -Wind

8. CLEVELAND CAVALIERS

Trae Young – Point Guard – Age 19.6 – 6-foot-2, 176 pounds – Oklahoma

Stats: 27.4 PPG, 8.8 APG, 36.1% 3FG

Perhaps no college basketball team depended on one player to create offense for them the way the Sooners did with Young. The diminutive freshman was asked to carry an Atlas-like load in his lone season at Oklahoma. For the most part, he delivered. Young can get his shot off from anywhere on the floor. He’s an outstanding ball handler. He can throw passes at all sorts of funky angles with both hands. He’s a special talent. He’s also tiny, which NBA teams will try to exploit. Will he get bullied the way Isaiah Thomas does defensively? – Clark

9. NEW YORK KNICKS

Mikal Bridges – Small Forward – Age 21.6 – 6-foot-7, 200 pounds – Villanova

Stats: 18.0 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 43% 3FG

There might not be a more NBA-ready wing in the draft than Bridges, who is only projected to go this low because of his age. Sure he’ll be 22 years old by the time next season starts, but he’s a versatile small forward who can shoot and defend multiple positions. Bridges is a worker who teams shouldn’t shy away from taking a chance on him earlier in the lottery. He’ll be able to step in and provide a spark as a two-way dynamo early on in his rookie season. -Wind

10. PHILADELPHIA 76ERS

Lonnie Walker IV – Shooting Guard – Age 19.4 – 6-foot-4, 206 pounds – Miami

Stats: 11.5 PPG, 2.0 APG, 34.6% 3FG

Walker is a long, athletic and shifty guard. He’s got a 6-foot-10 wingspan and a 40-inch vertical. The former McDonald’s All-American possesses incredible physical tools, but his production at Miami was underwhelming. He shot 41.5 percent from the field and averaged 1.9 assists compared to 1.2 turnovers. He also could’ve been slowed by a meniscus tear he suffered last summer. – Clark

11. CHARLOTTE HORNETS

Kevin Knox – Small Forward/Power Forward – Age 18.7 – 6-foot-9, 205 pounds – Kentucky

Stats: 15.6 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 34.1% 3FG

The 18-year-old swingman is one of the youngest players in the draft and is incredibly raw. He boasts potential but didn’t particularly stand out in his one season at Kentucky. Knox possesses a long and versatile frame that’s fit for the modern NBA and can really shoot it. If you’re a team in need of a potentially switchy forward and can afford to be patient, Knox might be your guy. -Wind

12. LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS

Collin Sexton – Point Guard – Age 19.3 – 6-foot-2, 183 pounds – Alabama

Stats: 19.2 PPG, 3.6 APG, 33.6% 3FG

Sexton is one of the most ferocious competitors in this draft class. In November, he nearly willed Alabama past Minnesota even though the Crimson Tide played the final 10 minutes of the game 3-on-5. Sexton loves to get to the rack using his combination of strength and speed. – Clark

13. LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS

Robert Williams – Power Forward/Center – Age 20.5, 6-foot-11, 237 pounds – Texas A&M

Stats: 10.4 PPG, 9.2 RPG, 2.6 BPG

Williams is a natural rim runner who’s well suited for the modern game. He’s also arguably the best rebounder in this class and his defensive upside as a rim protecter could peak the interest of a few defensively starved teams later in the lottery. What’s Williams’ role on offense, though? Will he have a Clint Capela-type impact as exclusively a lob catcher and finisher? Or will the mid-range jumper he showed off at times over his two-year run at Texas A&M emerge as a go-to weapon? -Wind

14. DENVER NUGGETS

Miles Bridges – Small Forward/Power Forward – Age 20.1 – 6-foot-6, 226 pounds – Michigan State

Stats: 17.1 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 36.4% 3FG

The Nuggets desperately need help on the wing with Will Barton about to enter free agency and Wilson Chandler mulling his player option. How about adding the high-flying Bridges, who put up some impressive numbers in two seasons at Michigan State? Denver could use a player who can toggle between small forward and power forward. Bridges played both in East Lansing. He can hit the three, he defends and he gets on the glass. This would be an ideal fit. – Clark

15. WASHINGTON WIZARDS

Zhaire Smith – Shooting Guard/Small Forward – Age 18.9 – 6-foot-4, 198 pounds – Texas Tech

Stats: 11.3 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 55.6% FG

Smith could be a top-10 pick if he were two or three inches taller. He’s the rare freak athlete whose motor never seems to stop running. He hits the offensive glass like a madman. His length (6-foot-10 wingspan), quickness and tenacity allowed him to defend everyone from Jevon Carter to Mohamed Bamba. The knocks against him: He didn’t display much confidence in his ball-handling ability or jump shot at Texas Tech. – Clark

16. PHOENIX SUNS

Shai Gilgeous Alexander – Point Guard/Shooting Guard – Age 19.8, 6-foot-6, 171 pounds – Kentucky

Stats: 14.4 PPG, 5.1 APG, 1.6 SPG

Gilgeous-Alexander showed an impressive ability to get inside and finish for a player with his rail-thin frame. The lanky guard relied on smooth stop-and-start moves, a tight handle and creative finishing techniques. There’s so much craft to his game. He was also an excellent on-ball defender in his lone season at Kentucky. He’d fit in well next to Devin Booker. – Clark

17. MILWAUKEE BUCKS

Jerome Robinson – Point Guard/Shooting Guard – Age 21.1 – 6-foot-5, 181 pounds – Boston College

Stats: 20.4 PPG, 3.4 APG, 41.9% 3FG

Eric Bledsoe is a free agent and hasn’t exactly wowed since he’s been in Minnesota, so the Bucks may look at add depth at that position in the first round. Enter Robinson, who can play either backcourt spot, has an enticing frame at 6-foot-5 and can really fill it up. Robinson had a 46-point game last season against Notre Dame and can help generate offense for a Milwaukee team that struggled to at times last season. Wind 

18. SAN ANTONIO SPURS

Troy Brown – Shooting Guard/Small Forward – Age 18.8 – 6-foot-7, 210 pounds – Oregon

Stats: 11.3 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 1.6 SPG

Brown is a bit longer than some of the two-guards projected to go in the first round but struggled with his jumper in his lone season at Oregon. He shot below 30 percent from distance; however, did hit a respectable 74 percent of his free throws. Brown was a highly regarded recruit coming out of high school and was rated 15th overall in ESPN’s Top-100. His versatility, playmaking ability and defensive upside is intriguing in the mid-first round. -Wind

19. ATLANTA HAWKS

Aaron Holiday – Point Guard  – Age 21.6 – 6-foot-1, 187 pounds – UCLA

Stats: 20.3 PPG, 5.8 APG, 43% 3FG

Holiday doesn’t have the upside of guards and wings projected to go ahead of him in the first round, but few bring the intangibles to the table that the junior point guard out of UCLA does. Holiday is a tough-nosed ball handler, can operate out of the pick-and-roll effectively, is a bulldog on defense, has a long wingspan and shot 43 percent from three last season. Those are all attractive traits to NBA teams. The Hawks might want to think about adding a Dennis Schroder replacement if a talent like Holiday is still available at 19. -Wind

20. MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES

Keita Bates-Diop – Small Forward/Power Forward – Age 22.2 – 6-foot-7, 235 pounds – Ohio State

Stats: 19.8 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 35.9 3P%

The reigning Big 10 Player of the Year put up huge numbers his senior season at Ohio State. He’s a talented scorer especially from the mid-range zones on the floor, where he attempted more than 40 percent of his shots, according to Hoop-Math. He’s long enough to play power forward in the NBA. How much will his average athleticism limit him? – Clark

21. UTAH JAZZ

Chandler Hutchinson – Small Forward – Age 22.1 – 6-foot-7, 195 pounds – Boise State

Stats: 20.0 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 7.2 FTA

The Jazz could use a wing to come off the bench and add scoring punch. How about Hutchinson, who averaged 20.0 points per game as a senior? Hutchinson is an expert at drawing fouls. He got to the line 7.7 times per game. He wasn’t much of an outside shooter his first two seasons at Boise State, but he developed into one. He shot 36 percent from three-point territory on 4.1 attempts last year. – Clark

22. CHICAGO BULLS

Dzanan Musa – Small Forward – Age 19.0, 6-foot-9, 195 pounds – KK Cedevita

Stats (All Competition): 12.4 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 47.6% FG

In a draft class that’s comparably weaker on European prospects to year’s past, Musa stands out as the second or third-ranked Euro-born player to Doncic. He’s one of the younger players in this class and is known for his aggressiveness on the offensive end of the floor. Musa has good size and instincts and could catch the eye of a team that looks at the swingman as a longer-term play. -Wind

23. INDIANA PACERS

Elie Okobo – Point Guard – Age 20.5 – 6-foot-3, 180 pounds – Pau Orthez (France)

Stats: 13.8 PPG, 4.7 APG, 41.8% 3FG

Okobo has been one of the fastest risers in the pre-draft process and will compete with Musa for the right to be the second European player drafted in the first round. The French guard is an explosive scorer and had 44 points in a game late last season against Monaco. He’s crafty when he can get into the paint but his handle is a bit loose. Defensively, the jury is still out. – Wind

24. PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS

Kevin Huerter – Shooting Guard/Small Forward – Age 19.7 – 6-foot-6, 182 pounds – Maryland

Stats: 14.8 PPG, 3.4 APG, 41.7% 3FG

Huerter seems to be rising up draft boards after a strong performance at the draft combine and an attractive skill-set gives the rangy wing a chance to go in the mid-first round. He’s got tremendous size and the ability to make tough jumpers coming off screens. Not to mention Huerter has a ton of range on his jumper and was knocking down NBA three-pointers with ease last season at Maryland. Huerter underwent surgery to repair torn ligaments in his right hand and will miss two months but it remains to be seen if that causes him to slide on draft night. If there’s another Klay Thompson in this draft, it’s Huerter. -Wind

25. LOS ANGELES LAKERS

Mitchell Robinson – Center – Age 20.1 – 6-foot-11, 230 pounds, Chalmette (LA.) HS

Stats: (2016–17 HS): 25.7 PPG, 12.6 RPG, 6.0 BPG

Robinson, who enrolled at Western Kentucky but eventually left before ever playing a game there, could be the ultimate boom or bust pick in the first round. He’s got tantalizing size and athleticism and has been on scouts’ radars for a while, but is a risk. The Lakers need another big and could look at this selection towards the end of the first round as a chance to hit a home run with the former top-15 ranked recruit coming out of high school. -Wind

26. PHILADELPHIA 76ERS

Khyri Thomas – Shooting Guard – Age 22.0 – 6-foot-4, 199 pounds – Creighton

Stats: 15.1 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 1.7 SPG

The two-time Big East Defensive Player of the Year’s best skill is his perimeter defense. He’s got great hands and anticipation when jumping into passing lanes. He’d be another strong link on a team that ranked third in defensive rating. He can also knock down catch-and-shoot threes, which is a vital skill when you’re sharing the floor with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. – Clark

27. BOSTON CELTICS

Donte DiVincenzo – Point Guard, Shooting Guard – Age 21.2 – 6-foot-4, 202 pounds – Villanova

Stats: 13.4 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 3.5 APG

DiVincenzo is likely to hear his name called in the first round on draft night. The sharpshooter helped his stock tremendously in March thanks to a big-time tournament run with Villanova where DiVincenzo earned Most Valuable Player Honors at the Final Four and tallied a game-high 31 points in the National Championship game. He’s an athletic, versatile guard with an NBA-ready jumper and a good feel for the game. -Wind

28. GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS

Josh Okogie – Shooting Guard – Age 19.7 – 6-foot-4, 195 pounds – Georgia Tech

Stats: 18.2 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 1.8 SPG

The Warriors would be thrilled if Okogie dropped to 28th overall. The rangy guard boasts a seven-foot wingspan, can play multiple positions and is a great athlete. Okogie hit 38.0 percent of his threes last season at Georgia Tech and shot 82.1 percent from the line. He projects fairly well as a shooter although there are some concerns about the speed of his release. Okogie is likely a 3-and-D with the potential to blossom in the right environment.

29. BROOKLYN NETS

Bruce Brown – Shooting Guard/Small Forward – Age 21.8 – 6-foot-5, 195 pounds – Miami

Stats: 11.4 PPG, 7.1 REB, 4.0 AST

Brown plays big for someone who weighed in below 200 pounds. He’s not afraid to fight for rebounds inside. He throws down dunks like he’s trying to hurt the rim. He doesn’t score the basketball efficiently, but he does a little bit of everything else including make plays for others. It’s hard not to get Marcus Smart vibes when you watch him. – Clark

30. ATLANTA HAWKS

Melvin Frazier – Shooting Guard/Small Forward – Age 20.7 – 6-foot-6, 198 pounds – Tulane

Stats: 15.9 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 2.2 SPG

The Trail Blazers desperately need length and athleticism on the wing. That became abundantly clear in their first-round loss to the Pelicans. The high-flying Frazier would be a welcome addition. Frazier — with a 7-foot-2 wingspan and a 40-inch vertical — is a freak among freaks. He needs to learn how to better harness those gifts. He could do that alongside Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum, who shoulder so much of the scoring and playmaking load. – Clark

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