After a strong postseason run that ended in the Conference Finals, the Denver Nuggets are looking to build off of their momentum heading into next year. What players should they target with the No. 22 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft?
What a season for the Denver Nuggets, huh?
A Cinderella run to the Western Conference Finals that included back-to-back 3-1 comebacks. One in a riveting duel between Denver’s Jamal Murray (36, 50, 42, 50) and Utah’s Donovan Mitchell (57, 30, 51, 30, 44) trading high-scoring blows throughout the series, and a second against the Los Angeles Clippers, in what was an unimaginable upset over a team many pegged as near-favorites to reach the NBA Finals.
The Nuggets would bow out in five games to the eventual championship-winning Los Angeles Lakers, but it was a playoff run that offered nothing but excitement for the team’s future.
Much of this excitement is warranted. Murray took a leap in the Bubble, averaging 26.5 points and 6.6 assists on .505/.453/.897 shooting, scoring off pull-ups from all over the floor, and showcasing an elevated sense of when and where to attack opposing defenses. Nikola Jokić continued his magical ways as a post scorer and gifted playmaker, with “Big Honey” earning All-NBA Second Team honors.
And Michael Porter Jr., in his delayed rookie season, reminded everyone why he was once considered a former top recruit because of his prowess as a tough shot-maker and offensive rebounder, finishing his first year in the league with averages of 9.3 points and 4.7 rebounds on .617 true shooting.
It was a meaningful season for the Denver Nuggets, but this is an important offseason for them if they are to build off of their momentum. There are a number of key free-agent decisions — chiefly the aging veteran Paul Millsap, who will fetch offers nearing the mid-level exception (roughly $9 million), and combo-forward Jerami Grant, who is set to decline his player option and seek $14 to 16 million annually — as well as a first-round pick to use to bolster the bench.
The team is rumored to be looking at trades for established star talent, such as Washington’s Bradley Beal and New Orleans’ Jrue Holiday, which could involve the No. 22 pick (along with other assets), but acquiring such players is no small task.
For the time being, the pick is in their possession, so let’s look at who the Denver Nuggets could target with the No. 22 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.