The Denver Nuggets have pick No. 20 in tonight’s NBA Draft and they have the flexibility to do with it as they please. They could draft a player, they could trade up or down for a player that they really covet or they could package it with a player to move positions and improve their roster.
What is likely to happen though is for head coach George Karl, who has plenty of ties to the North Carolina program, to be tempted to draft UNC point guard Kendall Marshall if he’s still there at No. 20. It would be a bit of an interesting move seeing as they already have a star UNC product at point guard in Ty Lawson and a seasoned veteran Andre Miller as his back-up. However, it’s never a bad thing to have too much depth at the point, especially in the type of offense that Denver runs. Injuries could severely hamper the transition offense that the Nuggets run and having guys like Miller and Marshall backing up Lawson if he goes down would be a good tandem to rely on.
It’s an enticing proposition for Karl to be able to draft another UNC player and one of the talent that Marshall possesses. Like their current back-up Andre Miller, Marshall is a pass first guard that is used to running an up-tempo offense that mostly plays in transition. On a team that was full of NBA talent, Marshall may have been a bit overlooked with Harrison Barnes and John Henson sharing the spotlight. With that said, it was Marshall’s injury, and absence, that played the biggest role in North Carolina’s exit from the NCAA Tournament last spring.
Denver has plenty of assets if other NBA teams are interested in making any deals with them. Last year they were one of the deepest teams in the league and Karl had the “nice” problem of trying to create the most effective rotation. Javale McGee and Wilson Chandler are the most likely players that could be moved if a team presents Denver with an attractive trade offer. McGee has expressed interest in staying with the team after arriving late last season and being a surprise contributor in the playoffs. Chandler joined the team late in the season as well after finishing his contract in China but was sidelined with a hip injury and did not play much. A lot of things can happen in tonight’s draft but these players could be gone by the end of the night.
Marshall is a very talented player and is a lock for a first round draft selection. Whether or not he is still there at No. 20 for the Denver Nuggets and George Karl is something to watch for in tonight’s draft coverage.
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