Denver Nuggets 2014 NBA Draft Preview

2013-14 Record: 36-46 (4th in Northwest Division)

Missed Playoffs

2013-14 Team Stats (points per 100 possessions)

Offensive: 103.3 (16th in NBA) 

Defensive: 105.4 (21st in NBA)

Season Recap

Two years ago, Denver held the third best record in the Western Conference and head coach George Karl had won Coach of the Year. Following a first round upset at the hands of the Golden State Warriors, Karl was gone.

Longtime Phil Jackson assistant Brian Shaw got the job, and things didn't go as smoothly for him in his first season. The Nuggets had lost former All-Star Andre Iguodala, but their roster was still very capable of competing with anyone. Problem was, essentially all key pieces were injured at some time or another. Most notably, JaVale McGee only played in five games all year while dealing with a stress fracture, while Danilo Gallinari missed the entire season while recovering from a Torn ACL. The result was that Denver was out of the postseason for the first time since drafting Carmelo Anthony back in 2003.

Everyone should be healthy for the start of next season, and Denver's roster looks like a team that will compete for a playoff spot. However, they still have areas they need to improve to make that a reality.

Draft Picks

Round 1

Pick 11

Denver has indicated they want to trade this pick for a veteran player that can help them win right away, but they have a couple of good options if they choose to keep this pick. The Nuggets are loaded in the frontcourt but are slimmer at the guard positions, particularly shooting guard with Ty Lawson holding down the point.

Should they make this selection, they will go with either Gary Harris from Michigan State or Nik Stauskus from Michigan. My guess would be Stauskus because of his size (6'6") and outside shooting ability, but Harris is a great two-way player. Both will be successful in the league and Denver couldn't go wrong with either.

Another option could be Zach LaVine from UCLA. It might be a bit of a reach, but LaVine's athleticism, potential, and ability to play both guard positions are moving him up everyone's draft boards.

Round Two

Pick 11 (41st overall)

Denver can go any direction they want if their shooting guard need is met in the first round (or with a trade), so they'll probably just go for the guy that is highest left on their board. They could go for DeAndre Kane, the 6'6" point guard from Iowa State, to give opponents a different look from the 5'11" Lawson. Johnny O'Bryant from LSU is another solid option that would give them a physical low-post rebounder off the bench - he'd essentially be J.J. Hickson's understudy.

Pick 26 (56th overall)

At this point in the draft, if whoever they pick sticks to their roster, it'd be a surprise. They would love it Khem Birch, a big man from UNLV (11.5 ppg, 10.2 rpg, 26.7 PER), was available and he should be, providing them with more rebounding and some energetic minutes. Don't be surprised to see them take a flyer on an international player like center Moussa Diagne from Senegal or Greek small forward Ioannis Papapetrou to stash overseas for a few years and hope they can develop.

Current Roster

G: Ty Lawson

G: Evan Fournier

G: Randy Foye

F: Wilson Chandler

F: Kenneth Faried

F: Danilo Gallinari

F: Anthony Randolph

F/C: J.J. Hickson

C: JaVale McGee

C: Timofey Mozgov

Free Agents

G: Nate Robinson (player option)

F: Darrell Arthur (player option)

G: Aaron Brooks

F: Jan Vesely

Who should the Nuggets pick? Do they have any chance to get back to the postseason? Tweet your thoughts to @brauf33.

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