The first round of the 2024 NBA Draft begins next week on Wednesday, June 26th. A second round takes place the next day. The Denver Nuggets currently possess the 28th and 56th overall picks. With the Nuggets coming off of a painful second round defeat in the playoffs, there’s no telling what General Manager Calvin Booth and the Nuggets brain trust decide to do. Will they keep the picks, trade up, trade down, or move them for a veteran contributor? Everything’s on the table, so let’s discuss a wide variety of players in this week’s NBA Draft Positional Previews.

Other Position Previews

Shooting Guards | Small Forwards | Power Forwards

Five Point Guard Prospects

Isaiah Collier – USC

Age: 19 | Height: 6’2.5″ | Weight: 205 | Wingspan: 6’4.8″

Per Game Stats: 30.0 minutes, 16.3 points, 4.3 assists, 2.9 rebounds, 3.3 turnovers

Shooting Splits: 49.0 FG%, 33.8 3P%, 67.3 FT%, 56.7 TS%

Isaiah Collier was once viewed in some circles as a candidate for the top pick in the draft. A tough season at USC put things in perspective regarding his draft stock, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be a dynamic ball handler at the NBA level. He’s strong for his position and uses his size well to get into the teeth of the defense. The decision making wasn’t great overall, but shooting 54.3% from two-point range is nothing to sneeze at as a freshman.

Collier would be more of a project than the other older point guards on this list, but he’s by far the most talented. He’s dropped down draft boards, but the Nuggets would still be unlikely to select him at 28th overall. Still, I think he may be worth a look at trading up. He’s dynamic with the ball in his hands and can get downhill in a hurry. He will need to improve as a passer in the NBA, but the Nuggets need scoring punch and ball creation off the bench more than anything else.

Tyler Kolek – Marquette

Age: 23 | Height: 6’1.3″ | Weight: 197 | Wingspan: 6’2.8″

Per Game Stats: 33.0 minutes, 15.3 points, 7.7 assists, 4.9 rebounds, 2.9 turnovers

Shooting Splits: 49.6 FG% 38.8 3P%, 85.1 FT%, 60.0 TS%

Tyler Kolek is a prototypically elite college point guard. He played four seasons, three at Marquette, and really blossomed in his junior and senior seasons. He’s a crafty left handed guard with strong playmaking instincts and an improved scoring mentality. He doesn’t always force the issue for his own offense, and that’s what makes him a traditional point guard. He’s undersized, especially with less than a 6’3″ wingspan, but he still made an impact defensively with his brain to get his hands in passing lanes.

Kolek would come into Denver and immediately compete for backup point guard minutes. Whether he’s good enough to be an impactful playoff player is up for debate. T.J. McConnell just made a major impact in the playoffs for the Indiana Pacers, but he did so in his Age-31 season after many years. Could Kolek make an impact next year? He’s considered pro ready, but I have my doubts.

Still, Kolek would be a worthy selection at 28th overall if the Nuggets went that direction. He can orchestrate a bench unit, and the Nuggets could use that behind Jamal Murray.

Ajay Mitchell – UC Santa Barbara

Age: 22 | Height: 6’3.3″ | Weight: 197 | Wingspan: 6’6.3″

Per Game Stats: 31.5 minutes, 20.0 points, 4.0 assists, 4.0 rebounds, 2.6 turnovers

Shooting Splits: 50.4 FG% 39.3 3P%, 85.8 FT%, 61.2 TS%

Ajay Mitchell is a mid-major point guard with decent size and average athleticism. He doesn’t jump off the page with his speed and burst, but he’s smart, has great footwork, and has great touch all over the floor. He also sees the floor really well and has some impressive passes on tape, especially turning the corner and finding a lob passer or kickout to the weak side corner. He’s a smart player on both ends of the floor, just not a high level athlete. I’m really impressed with his game and think he’s a potential steal this low.

Many draft analysts compare Mitchell’s game to Andrew Nembhard of the Indiana Pacers. If that’s the kind of player Mitchell becomes, he’s incredibly undervalued even at 28th overall. A combo guard that can play with or without Jamal Murray, benefitting from the versatility of Nikola Jokic, and possessing the size to hold up defensively in the playoffs. If that’s the kind of player he would be on the Nuggets, sign me up.

KJ Simpson – Colorado

Age: 21 | Height: 6’0.3″ | Weight: 187 | Wingspan: 6’4.5″

Per Game Stats: 35.1 minutes, 19.7 points, 4.9 assists, 5.8 rebounds, 2.2 turnovers

Shooting Splits: 47.5 FG% 43.4 3P%, 87.6 FT%, 60.6 TS%

KJ Simpson led the Colorado Buffaloes to the NCAA Tournament this year. He’s a smaller point guard with great scoring instincts and an ability to impact the game in a variety of areas. The local prospect experienced a massive jump over three years and became more comfortable running a high level offense. His True Shooting jumped from 48.5% and 49.9% in his freshman and sophomore seasons to an impressive 60.6% this year. That shows growth, but also an opportunity for regression at the next level.

Simpson will need to rely on the three-ball to excel at the NBA level. He will also need to get stronger if he wants to emulate other small guards like Jalen Brunson. There’s a place in the NBA for an offensive player of Simpson’s talent, but the Nuggets recently had an elite scoring guard, Markus Howard, who couldn’t get on the floor because of size and defense. Simpson is a little bit bigger than Howard, and he’s a more willing point guard rather than scorer. Still, it would be a challenge to craft lineups around Simpson, and that could limit his utility in the playoff rotation.

If he’s available at 56, he would be a solid value pick. At 28th overall? Probably not.

Tristen Newton – UCONN

Age: 23 | Height: 6’3.3″ | Weight: 192 | Wingspan: 6’6.8″

Per Game Stats: 33.2 minutes, 15.1 points, 6.2 assists, 6.6 rebounds, 2.5 turnovers

Shooting Splits: 41.5 FG% 32.1 3P%, 80.8 FT%, 56.1 TS%

A popular point guard prospect who’s won back-to-back national championships at UCONN, Tristen Newton is a more defensive minded point guard with some playmaking skills. Playing in a pro style offense under Dan Hurley, Newton got downhill in the pick and roll and distributed the ball well to teammates. Newton’s shooting efficiency throughout his college career has been suspect though, and it’s fair to wonder if he can hit shots at the NBA level. Where he most excels is defensively and would be an asset in both on-ball and off-ball defense, despite standing at just 6’3″.

Newton is closer to the Bruce Brown mold than other point guards listed. He’s not going to lead an offense and carry the scoring load, but he can be a part of the picture. The Nuggets need strong defenders with their bench units around Jamal Murray, and Newton qualifies. Add in his ability to get downhill and draw attention in the middle of the floor, and he’s a reasonable addition in the second round.

If Newton irons out his jumper (he already shoots 83.1% from the free throw line in his college career) then he could be a sneaky valuable addition to any playoff contender.