Here’s who the NBA Draft experts believe the Nuggets will select in the first round and my quick analysis of the pick.
This post will be updated whenever a new mock draft gets released. Not every mock is updated for Denver’s 30th pick, which was added in the JaMychal Green’s trade that’s not yet official.
ESPN (Jonathan Givony) — updated 6/21
21st overall: Dalen Terry | 6-7 | Guard | Arizona | Freshman | Age: 19
Wind’s Analysis: Terry is one of the fastest risers of the pre-draft process and he fits the type of player that the Nuggets would target in the first round in an effort to re-make their defensive dynamic. He can interchange between all three perimeter positions and his length (7-1 wingspan) gives him the potential to be a real disruptor on the defensive end of the floor. He’s a Swiss Army Knife athlete that can lock his man down on the ball and play free safety off it. Terry — currently 4th on my Nuggets big board — gives me young Andre Iguodala vibes although he isn’t as smooth of an operator on either offense or defense. I’m not sure if Terry is a big-time contributor as a rookie, but there would be situations where he’d be deployed and where his defensive skill-set could be relied upon upon.
30th overall: Christian Braun | 6-7 | Wing | Kansas | Junior | Age: 21
Wind’s Analysis: This pick used to be Colorado State’s David Roddy, but I just can’t see Denver being high enough on him to select him here. Braun, who’s 6th on my Nuggets big board, seems to be a more likely target. He’s a plug-and-play wing that can do a little bit of everything on the offensive end of the floor. Braun can shoot and converted 38% of his 3s across his three seasons at Kansas. He’s a smart ball-mover and passer too who knows how to operate within an offense that contains star power, as he did in college. Defensively, he competes on every possession, but his negative wingspan (6-6 1/2) gives you some pause about his ultimate upside on that end of the floor. It feels like a contender will try and scoop Braun up at the tail end of the first round and slot him into a Grayson Allen or Otto Porter Jr. type of role next season.
Sports Illustrated (Jeremy Woo) — updated 6/20
21st overall: Jake LaRavia | 6-8 Forward | Wake Forest | Junior | Age: 20
Wind’s Analysis: LaRavia was in Denver for a workout a few weeks back and I can’t remember seeing a prospect with an easier shot than him. That’s not hyperbole. LaRavia is going to be an excellent shooter at the NBA level. I have a ton of confidence there. His shot is bread-and-butter smooth. I’d be a little worried about the fit with Denver at 21 considering he plays the same position as Aaron Gordon, Michael Porter Jr. and Zeke Nnaji. He will also unfairly get compared forever to Nuggets 2017 draft bust Tyler Lydon. LaRavia could be a deadly pick-and-pop threat, he has a really solid basketball IQ and just knows how to play the game, but I’d rather see the Nuggets go elsewhere at 21.
30th overall: Andrew Nembhard | 6-4 | Point Guard | Gonzaga | Senior | Age: 22
Wind’s Analysis: I can’t see Denver drafting a point guard in the first round unless the Nuggets trade Monte Morris on or before draft night or have plans to deal him shortly after. That’s the only avenue towards adding a point guard to this roster in my opinion. Nembhard is an experienced lead ball-handler who started 115 games at Gonzaga over the last four years. He saw his 3-point percentage rocket up to 38.3% last season, although I don’t really trust his jumper. He’s a natural floor general and should have a relatively short learning curve at the NBA level. The 22-year-old fits the same mold that Morris did coming out of Iowa State in 2017. Nembhard had a big-time showing during his NBA Combine scrimmage against fellow soon-to-be draftees.
The Athletic (Sam Vecenie) — updated 6/21
21st overall: Blake Wesley | 6-4 | Guard | Freshman | Notre Dame | Age: 19
Wind’s Analysis: The pick here by Vecenie was Jalen Williams (1st on my big board) for a while, but now it looks like he’s likely to go earlier than 21. Wesley (8th on my Nuggets big board) is a trendy pick for Denver, but like the Nembhard pick, I still can only see this happening if Calvin Booth trades Morris or has immediate plans to trade him following the draft. Even if that’s the case, Denver can’t expect a 19-year-old to replace Morris or even fill that third point guard role next year. Wesley projects as a combo guard who can go back and forth between both backcourt positions. He’s rangy and long (6-9 wingspan) and should be a solid two-way player. He has to get a lot stronger though and won’t see the court for Denver next season. I’d bet he’d spend much of the year in the G League.
30th overall: Andrew Nembhard | 6-5 | Point Guard | Gonzaga | Senior | Age: 22
Wind’s Analysis: I touched on Nembhard above, but back-to-back point guards would be wild for Denver in the first round. I’d think Nembhard makes more sense in the aggregate than Wesley though, just since he’s NBA-ready and way more experienced. I could see Nembhard coming in and playing a role for a team next season but probably not a championship contender.
The Ringer (Kevin O’Connor) — updated 6/17
21st overall: Malaki Branham | 6-5 | Wing | Ohio State | Freshman | Age: 19
Wind’s Analysis: If Branham slips to 21, he’ll for sure be the most talented prospect on the board. The 19-year-old is a 1-and-done player out of Ohio State who has a combination of shooting ability — he converted 50% of his field-goal attempts and 41.6% of his 3-pointers last season — size, length (6-10 wingspan) and instincts to be a projectable NBA shooting guard. Shooting and scoring, that’s what he does. Branham has a great-looking pull-up jumper from the mid-range and has a great rhythm to his shot. His offensive floor game is pretty refined, patient and polished for someone as young as he is. Branham is a quality defender and has some room to grow there, but his frame and tools give you a lot of hope. Could he be the Nuggets’ shooting guard of the future? Perhaps. If you squint, you can see a lot of Khris Middleton in his game.
Bleacher Report (Jonathan Wasserman) — updated 6/15
21st overall: Ty Ty Washington | 6-4 | Guard | Kentucky | Freshman | Age: 20
Washington is 6-4 and has the ability to play both backcourt spots, which is part of his appeal. He’s a really versatile shot creator and drafting a Kentucky guard is never a bad option. If Morris is dealt, a move that this pick is insinuating, Washington could be a good eventual replacement, but he’s not going to be able to find his way onto the floor next season behind Jamal Murray and Bones Hyland. I’d think that if Morris was traded, you’d want a more experienced player lined up to get minutes as a third point guard behind Hyland too (Nembhard fits that mold more but a veteran would be my preferred option). Getting another position/role onto the Nuggets’ development track feels like it would be a better option here.
30th overall: Wendell Moore | 6-5 | Wing| Duke | Junior | Age: 20
Wind’s Analysis: Wendell Moore has everything that the Nuggets should want in a draft pick. He’s a strong defender and shooter. He has a little creation ability and projects to be a pure role player on a winning team at the next level. He’s unselfish and doesn’t need a ton of shots on the offensive end of the floor. At 30, this feels like solid value. The Nuggets already brought Moore in for a workout a couple of weeks ago. They’ve done their homework on him.
SB Nation (Ricky O’Donnell) — updated 6/15
21st overall: EJ Liddell | 6-7 | Power Forward | Ohio St. | Junior | Age: 21
Wind’s Analysis: Liddell is another unique prospect. He’s undersized as a power forward but makes up for it with his 7-foot wingspan and 38-inch max vert. Liddell has an old man’s offensive game where he loves to take his guy into the post, play with his back to the basket and put his defender in the mix. But Liddell can also shoot the 3 and is a versatile defender. He’s definitely more of a power forward than a small, so he could be a little redundant with Zeke Nnaji. There’s also one name that keeps coming to mind when watching his tape: Paul Millsap. I bet that intrigues Denver just a bit.
30th overall: Bryce McGowens | 6-7 | Wing | Nebraksa | Freshman | Age: 19
Wind’s Analysis: McGowens feels like a classic Nuggets draft target in the mold of RJ Hampton that could have been a Denver draft pick a few years ago. He’s athletic with sky-high upside but is raw and likely needs seasoning before he’s able to give you rotation minutes. McGowens is a bigger guard who has a lot of creation ability and playmaking instincts to his game. He’s someone who looks like he’ll be a knockdown shooter in the NBA in the Zach LaVine mold. But with how the Nuggets are situated right now? I can’t see this happening.