Denver Nuggets draft workouts: Takeaways from Day 3
With the NBA Draft less than nine days out, the Nuggets were back at work Monday as they held their third predraft workout at Ball Arena. Denver hosted Chudier Bile (Georgetown), Zaccheus Darko-Kelly (Providence (MT)), Alan Griffin (Syracuse), Miles McBride (West Virginia), Josh Primo (Alabama), Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (Villanova) in the scrimmage.
Here are the takeaways:
Primo inspired by Blue Arrow’s journey
Josh Primo is one of the most intriguing players in this year’s draft, largely because of his skill set and age. The former Alabama guard is a strong three-point shooter, connecting at 38.1 percent, and has the tools to be a solid defender in the next level. He is also the youngest player in this year’s draft, having turned 18 last December. All of those factors have made him one of the more exciting prospects in this year’s field.
“I think I’m most effective in being able to shoot and be a great off-ball player. Be able to make shots and play defense, I can guard positions one through three,” Primo told Nuggets.com in describing his game. “As I begin to get more comfortable [with it], my playmaking is something I really pride myself on. Being able to be a threat and from there make plays for my teammates.”
As Primo continues his development, one player that he is inspired by is fellow Canadian Jamal Murray. While Primo and Murray have different games, the former appreciates the Nuggets star’s relentless work ethic to improve his game.
“He’s one of my favorite players,” Primo said of Murray. “I went to watch him live in the BioSteel Canadian game a long time ago, probably in 2015. Since then, I’ve been following him and he’s really grown since coming here. So, it’s really nice to be in this gym, somewhere where he’s worked, and be able to work hard and compete right here.”
Although the two haven’t met or spoken to each other, Murray’s father Roger has given Primo some insights about the draft and what to expect.
“He’s given me some gems,” Primo said. “Me and my father, he’s taught us somethings about going into this process, how it’s going to be, and then going from there.”
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) July 19, 2021
Jeremiah brings defensive grit
Former Villanova star big man Jeremiah Robinson-Earl isn’t much of a shot-blocker, but that hasn’t stopped him from being one of the best interior defenders in college basketball. For the 6-foot-9 forward, his basketball upbringing and mentality have been key in his ability to slow opponents.
“From a young age, I’ve had coaches on me about ‘defense wins championships,’” Robinson-Earl explained to Nuggets.com. “At Villanova, we take a lot of pride in defense. If you’re not playing defense for coach [Jay] Wright, you’re not getting on the court…I’ve learned from the best in that sense.”
That statement will likely resonate with Nuggets head coach Michael Malone, who has helped build his team into a consistent contender due to his philosophy on defense.
McBride ready to surprise
Miles McBride was quick to correct those who asked about his totals in the three-point shootout in Monday’s practice.
“I hit 19 or 20,” McBride told Nuggets.com confidently.
It’s that swagger that McBride hopes will make him stand out in the draft process.
“I think I’m one of the best competitors in the draft, if not the best competitor,” he said. “I play [good] defense and on the offensive side, I attack downhill. I really play locked in the whole game.”
It’s been difficult to gauge the West Virginia standout’s draft range. He’s been projected to be either a late first-rounder to an early second-rounder and has compared to the San Antonio Spurs’ Derrick White. Although he entered the draft process with not a lot of buzz, his stock is rising due to some impressive combine workouts. That internal fire and competitiveness could make him a steal for a contending team. McBride insisted he’s willing to fight his way into the league.
“I’m a team player,” he said. “Whatever the team needs, I’m going to be able to do it. Whether it’s rebound, play defense, hit shots, or bring the ball up, just a total team player right here.”