Nuggets 2020 NBA Mock Draft Monday – November 16

by Eric Spyropoulos
Staff Writer
@EricSpyrosNBA

The 2020 offseason is about to take shape. With the NBA Draft just two days away, teams will soon land potential franchise cornerstones, make significant trades that impact their present and future, and prepare their plans for free agency.

But once again, that all starts with the draft on Wednesday, Nov. 18. For the Denver Nuggets, Wednesday’s draft presents a unique opportunity to add another young piece to the team’s promising core, but given the competitiveness of the team last season, the 22nd pick might be an opportunity to continue to focus on maximizing the team’s chances to compete for an NBA championship next season.

One positive for the Nuggets is the team’s considerable depth at most positions, thus allowing President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly and the rest of the front office to focus on drafting the best player available, regardless of position. Given that mock drafts have predicted Denver to select guards, wings and bigs at one point or another, the Nuggets’ draft board can and will be extensive.

With that being said, let’s take one final look at the recently published mock drafts for this final installment of #MockDraftMonday. The date of when each mock draft was published is included in parentheses.

The Athletic (Nov. 16): Zeke Nnaji, F/C, Arizona

The Nuggets are looking at a variety of big men in this upcoming class as they’re set across the frontcourt forward spots (assuming Jerami Grant re-signs) and have a solid group of guards. The two spots could be 3-and-D wing, or big. Nnaji is one guy the Nuggets have certainly kept an eye on, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see them go down this pathway.

Bleacher Report (Nov. 18): R.J. Hampton, G, New Zealand Breakers

Hampton's shooting has been a hot topic and key swing skill that he's been working on with trainer/coach Mike Miller. An improved shot to complement his explosiveness and secondary playmaking could significantly elevate Hampton's offense and ceiling.

ESPN (Nov. 16): Malachi Flynn, G, San Diego State

Flynn has moved up draft boards rapidly, as NBA teams have gotten more exposure to him in the workout hot spot of Las Vegas, where he has spent the pre-draft process. That has helped validate the outstanding season he had as one of the best players in college basketball, as well as his fit in today's NBA as a prolific pick-and-roll player with deep shooting range, strong decision-making and competitiveness defensively.

SB Nation (Nov. 12): Tyler Bey, G/F, Colorado

The Nuggets take the local kid, grabbing a forward who reportedly registered a 43.5” vertical jump in his combine measurements. Bey is an athletic defender whose skills as a rebounder help strengthen one of the Nuggets strengths. He doesn’t have to come in as a shooting threat, and his ability to score around the rim plays well next to Nikola Jokić, Michael Porter Jr., and potentially Jerami Grant. If Grant leaves, Bey can slot in as the forward defender the team needs. He could have a lot of highlight reel plays finishing lobs on a loaded Nuggets team.

Sports Illustrated (Nov. 16): Jalen Smith, C, Maryland

The Nuggets need depth up front, with Paul Millsap and Mason Plumlee hitting free agency and Bol Bol better suited to play as a stretch forward than a center. Smith’s ability to space the floor would give Denver a valuable dimension in the frontcourt, and his shot-blocking skills and limited mobility can be maximized and covered for in their scheme, where he’d presumably spell Nikola Jokic and occasionally share the floor. He could feasibly land as high as the late teens, but much of that will depend on trades. This would be a sensible landing spot for Smith, and he’s unlikely to fall much further than this.

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