2013 NBA Draft Targets Who Can Help the Denver Nuggets
The Denver Nuggets have the No. 27 pick in this year's draft and will be looking to add another piece to what is already one of the deepest teams in the league.
Can Denver strike gold in the second half of the first round once again, as they did with Ty Lawson (No. 18 pick) and Kenneth Faried (No. 22 pick)?
This pick will be the first big move for whoever replaces former Nuggets general manager Masai Ujiri. Living up to the Ujiri's success will place added pressure on this draft.
Addressing team needs through the draft might not be much of an issue for this yet-to-be-named GM, as this roster doesn't really have any pressing needs (unless they fail to re-sign Andre Iguodala).
So, the Nuggets will have the luxury of basing their draft pick purely on talent. They'll likely take whom they feel is the best available player, regardless of position.
The team recently worked out 12 prospects, in Denver and each one could be available when Denver selects at No. 27. Which ones could be legitimate first-round prospects?
Reggie Bullock (SF)
School: North Carolina
2012-13: 13.9 points and 6.6 rebounds a game, 43 percent three-point shooter
Denver had one of the most potent offenses in the league last season, despite lacking much of a three-point attack. The Nuggets were 25th in three-point percentage and 20th in threes made.
Reggie Bullock enters the 2013 draft as a three-point specialist with prototypical size for a wing. His ability to shoot from the outside could help create space for the penetrating of Ty Lawson, Andre Iguodala and the other Nuggets who love to attack the rim.
With Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Jordan Hamilton, Evan Fournier and possibly Andre Iguodala all on the roster, there's something of a log jam on the wings for Denver. Earning playing time right away could be difficult for Bullock. But the ability to shoot is one of the most marketable skills in the industry, and Bullock is one of this class's best.
Mike Muscala (C)
2012-13: 18.9 points, 11.3 rebounds and 2.3 blocks a game
With JaVale McGee and Kosta Koufos at center, Denver is fairly deep inside as well. But they still worked out three prospects at that position: Colorado State's Colton Iverson, Kansas' Jeff Withey and Bucknell's Mike Muscala.
If the team could add depth at center through the draft, they might be willing to move Kofous for financial flexibility or a player at another position.
Muscala was one of the most prolific scoring and rebounding big men in the country as a senior at Bucknell. And after playing all four years of college, he may have the maturity to step in and compete right away in the NBA.
Great rebounding is one of the most translatable skills in the NBA. Just look at the early careers of prolific college rebounders like Kevin Love, Paul Millsap or Kenneth Faried. That's one thing Muscala could contribute right away.
Ricky Ledo (SG/PG)
Ledo didn't play a single game for Providence during his freshman year after being deemed ineligible. Even still, he has a great chance to be selected in the first round of this year's draft.
He wasn't particularly impressive in athletic drills or in shooting the ball at the combine, but his ball-handling and playmaking ability stood out.
Who Should Denver Draft at No. 27?
A 6'6" point guard poses all kinds of problems for opposing defenses. Put a smaller guard on him, and he can post up or see over his defender from the top of the key or wherever the offense starts. Put a bigger guard or a wing on him, and that defender may not be quick enough to stay in front.
This is all assuming that Ledo can make a full transition to point guard. That question, in combination with the mystery surrounding a season missed due to eligibility issues, makes Ledo a bit of a gamble. But if he panned out, he could make a solid replacement for Andre Miller as Ty Lawson's backup.
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