The 2013 NBA Draft was full of unpredictable picks and plenty of trades. With the 27th pick, the Denver Nuggets selected Rudy Gobert from France and promptly traded him to the Utah Jazz for the 46th overall pick and cash. This was a shrewdly brilliant trade for the Nuggets. They have a young roster loaded with potential, especially when it comes to big men. Denver has JaVale McGee, Kosta Koufos, Anthony Randolph and Kenneth Faried locked up for next season and Timofey Mozgov is a restricted free agent. The last thing they needed was another seven-footer when their biggest problem last season was three-point shooting.
In addition, the Nuggets would like to maintain some salary-cap flexibility for free agency, which is set to begin on Monday and they would like to re-sign Andre Iguodala. Moving back to the second round with the 46th pick and selecting Erick Green out of Virginia Tech will give them that flexibility and another young player to develop for the future.
Green was the ACC Player of the Year and averaged 25 points, four rebounds and 3.8 assists per game in his only season at Virginia Tech while shooting almost 40 percent from deep. With this selection the Nuggets look to move forward without Andre Miller as I detailed last week. Green’s key strengths are his speed and quickness as well as his scoring ability. This will aid the Nuggets bench scoring as well as allow them to keep the game at a frantic pace when Ty Lawson takes a breather.
Overall, this was a smart move by new Nuggets GM Tim Connelly. He was able to add a young player at a position of need while spending less than a first-round pick would have cost the team especially in what is widely considered a very weak draft.