Today is the 2022 NBA Draft, and the Nuggets have two options to tinker with. It is entirely possible to not use either or both. The front office may trade one and use the other. Any outcome calls for some awareness of the possibilities that nuggets should aim for, and some that they should avoid. If you haven’t read our player profiles (which I recommend), this article will give you an idea of the possibilities you should keep out of your eyes and ears.
The Nuggets’ needs are crystal clear – size and perimeter defense on the wing. There are others; It’s always nice to own the shot, and it doesn’t hurt to be able to score. However, Nuggets need to tackle the defensive end of the floor the most. In the guard-and-wing-driven league, the Nuggets lack that area. The best perimeter defenders on the roster last season were Aaron Gordon, Austin Rivers, and possibly Zeke Nnagy. All of them are good defenders, providing reliable defense around the perimeter. However, Zeke Nnaji being the third best defender on the team isn’t perfect. Part of its appeal is that it is bulky and interchangeable. However, he should not be the one you ask to protect the best talent. Same with Aaron Gordon. Gordon is best used as a defender off the ball who can provide both safety and a great help to the defence. He’s a solid defender on the ball, but that’s not his ideal role. Having actual guards and wings to defend the guards and wingspan will allow both of them to perform their best defensive roles. It will also provide depth in situations that Nuggets lack. With all that being said – let’s dive into it!
1.) Margot Beauchamp
MarJon Beauchamp almost fits Nuggets. Provides a sporty wing defender of good size and length. At 6 feet 6 inches tall with a wingspan of over 7 feet, he has the frame you would look for in a wingtip defender. While playing for the G-League Ignite this past season, he played a less used role which basically made him appear as an off-ball and homeless scorer. He happily bought into the role and talked about doing a similar role with the Nuggets in his Monday rehearsal. The biggest question mark with MarJon is his quick shot. He only fired 27.3% of the 3 in Ignite. Despite this, his jump has some positive indicators to show him as a long-term shooter. He fired 39.8% from a 3-point streak at the junior college level when he played at Yakima Valley College and 71.2% from a free throw streak at Ignite. At the junior college level, he appeared as a builder on the ball and more than that as a scorer.
With the Nuggets, he would have occupied more of the role he played at Ignite than the top scorer he had at Yakima Valley. It can be entered as a long range shooting guard. If the jump can become respectable enough for MarJon to offer the close ups, he can utilize his creativity on the ball to either score or do some dump and kick passes. He’s shown he can do it in Yakima Valley, but where he mainly excels is providing a tall defender alongside Jamal Murray. He can take the best player from the two opposing teams and provide an athletic slash on the other end of the ground. He’s one of the best off the ball players in the class, and that’s exactly the kind of player you want alongside Jamal Murray, Nikola Jokic and Michael Porter Jr.; A low-use cutter that can help ensure your Nuggets defense. If I were Calvin Booth, I’d run to the catwalk if Margot Beauchamp was still available and take it faster than Disney’s devastating Star Wars.
2.) Wendell Moore Jr.
Wendell Moore Jr. is by no means a “sexy” choice. He doesn’t expect to have the same amount of rise as MarJon Beauchamp, not as athletic as Kendall Brown, and not as enthusiastic crowds as Nikola Jovic or David Roddy. It is the second favorite among that group. He struggled in his first two years at Duke after being a high school player. When I say fight, I mean conflict. He averaged just 8.6 points per game in 41.7/28.3/82.3 splits in his first two seasons. However, this season he has improved in almost every aspect of the game. He’s tough to good at most things and can meet a variety of needs for any team he takes on. Early in the season, Duke didn’t have a good ball coach. Jeremy Roach started pretty rough, and Paulo Panchero didn’t come in as the passer until later in the season. During this period of the season, it was Wendell Moore who played the primary ball handler. He manages the pick and roll well, shoots great off the catch and shoots last season in a 45.7% bubble clip. He has some upsides to creating self, but he’s also a great off-the-ball drive. He’s the better off-ball scorer than the shot-maker, but he has the ability to do both.
His defense can be lighthearted or blunder at times depending on what he is being asked to do. As a defender off the ball he needs a lot of work. He had defensive holes and wasn’t the most communicative when he wasn’t guarding the goalkeeper. His close hits were sometimes rough on the ball, too. However, his defense on the ball was good. It has a length of 7 feet and some changes to the length of its wingspan, and is 6 feet 5 inches long. This combined with being a good defender on the ball in general with quick hands leads to a fair amount of steals and isolations that fizzle out against him. He doesn’t show as well as a defender as MarJon does in the long run, but he’s a good choice for attacking and he’s also a bit smaller.
3.) Dalene Terry
Dalen Terry is someone I think Nuggets would look at in their 30s over 21, but he’s still a good choice for Nuggets either way. The sophomore in Arizona was awarded the All Pac-12 Defensive Team Honor last season. The bar speaks to the selection as well. Terry currently has a wire build, but is athletic enough and has the sense, instincts and skills to defend the point of attack well against positions 1-3. He is 6 feet 7 inches tall and has a wingspan of 7 feet 1 inch. He’s a great goalkeeper, he has the guts, the structure and he wants to defend. He has a lightning hand and gets into the corridors, turning defense into an attack. Moving on is where it thrives.
On the open floor, Dalen Terry’s pass was fully displayed. He has good passing position, speed and vision. As is a common theme among prospects that I love about Nuggets, he’s a great off-ball drive and finds holes in defense easily. He struggles to create points for himself and is not expected to be the top scorer in the NBA. He needs to improve his shot too, although he fired 36.4% of 3 in Arizona last season – he was low on volume and his shot mechanics could use some tweaking. A shooter has to be good to start. If Nuggets want a two-way connector, Dalen Terry is a name to take a closer look at.
1.) Kendall Brown
One name that is sometimes mentioned among Nuggets fans is former Baylor striker Kendall Brown. He has an athletic spirit and a good frame with a 6 feet 8 inches tall and 6 feet 11 inch wingspan. It’s one of the most explosive jumps in the draft, and it moves sideways really well. He’s a good passerby, and I mean just in general. He’s not flashing with him, he’s a legitimately good passerby. He is among the best off the ball players in the draft. Problems with him arise when you look at other areas of his game. It’s too raw, and Nuggets don’t have time to pick a project. His shot, despite the good percentages, is a far cry. The mechanics aren’t the best and he was hesitant to shoot her from 3.
Defensively, he’s good at handling the ball. He tries very hard when guarding the ball handler and can keep it well under control. Off the ball, it was a bit of a wreck. He hit the ball a good amount on back door cuts, and other things like that. He doesn’t have that great feeling defensively, and while he has a high defensive ceiling, he’s not around right now and isn’t someone who fits into the Nuggets schedule.
2.) Bryce McGuins
Bryce McGowens has been a name mentioned by a few Nuggets fans and is one of the hottest late-rise figures among the people who participated in the draft. The numbers and statistics don’t look good, but the playing field for him is more context. He played for Nebraska very badly and was relied upon to create an attack in the context of a very bad offensive. The floor wasn’t a good place for him and you could stifle some of his ineffective targets in this vein. He is 6 feet 7 inches tall, has an interesting frame and has a development path to be a good scorer. However, it is a legitimate choice. The surroundings in his game are all very poor and need major improvement. His death might require some work, and his defense was terrible. Just like Kendall Brown, he doesn’t fit into the Nuggets schedule nor does it meet the needs he has.
3.) Tate Washington
Titi Washington is good enough not to put it in the ugly category. Denver was ridiculed by a few outlets, someone who early in the course was seen as a top 20 player. However, it fell throughout the course and has a great towing range. Some people still view it as a teenage pick, others as a second-round pick. The reason he found himself here is because he is another little goalkeeper who is better with the ball in his hands. His best skill at the moment is ball by ball. Nuggets don’t need this and generally don’t need small guards. Tyty Washington would be a good player in all likelihood, but he wouldn’t be a target if I was the front desk for the Nuggets.
1.) Nikola Jovic
Nuggets fans are evil to Nikola Jovic. the reason? its name. Outside of that he doesn’t have anything Nuggets need right now. Now let me say this, in the void I love Nikola Jovic. However, he is a really bad defender. Therefore, it should be off the table for the nuggets. His feel, movement, athletic style, and technique in this regard are all pretty poor. If Kendall Brown’s off-the-ball defense made him a great choice for the Nuggets, Jovic’s defense would make him a very bad foul. Positive attributes in his game are shooting, passing and ball handling at a height of 6 feet 11 inches. That’s why I love it in the void, but Denver has all of those bases covered. Despite the hype, memes don’t always make the right choice.
2.) Little guards
All the guards in this draft are somewhat junior for the most part. Kennedy Chandler gets mocked at Denver sometimes, he’s so young. Jean Montero, very young. etc., etcetera, etcetera. Nuggets, unless the Monte Morris is traded on the night of the draw, are loaded into sentry positions and do not need another small ranger. Even if they are good at defending, there are no interchangeable junior guards in this class. Nuggets need wings, and this is a category of heavy wings. They should aim for one or even two wings. If the Nuggets make both choices and only one of them is a winger, they must choose a position instead of another goalkeeper. Christian Koloko and Ismail Camagat are two centers who should be good right away and could fill them as reserve positions for Denver if asked. Not just the little guards!
3.) Patrick Baldwin Jr..
Patrick Baldwin Jr. hasn’t been mocked at Nuggets, and that should stay that way. He’s a Milwaukee striker who played in a tough context. Being a five-star recruit out of high school, he could have played in many different schools – Duke for example. His father was a Milwaukee coach though and Patrick decided to play for his father. There was a lot of pressure on him, and his performance was far less than the time. The lift was that he’s a great shooter. A 27.5% shot at jumping in Milwaukee. The context was tough, but he was playing against a weaker competition than most and he also dealt with injuries. Given the risk of injury and poor performance – say that with me now – he’s a player Project selection. Denver shouldn’t take a flight, especially one on Patrick Baldwin Jr..