Who experts see the Denver Nuggets selecting in the 2022 NBA Draft

Nov 17, 2021; El Segundo, CA, USA; G League Ignite forward MarJon Beauchamp (14) during the game against the South Bay Lakers at UCLA Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Around the NBA, players, coaches, executives, and fans are preparing for the 2022 NBA Draft on June 23rd, just under two weeks away. The Orlando Magic will kick things off with the first overall pick, and then the festivities will progress from there.

Right now, NBA Draft experts disagree on who the top prospect in the class is, and that has caused ripples of confusion in mock drafts from the top all the way down. Some believe Jabari Smith of Auburn to be the best player. Some think it’s Chet Holmgren of Gonzaga. On Wednesday, I presented my belief that Paolo Banchero of Duke was the best, most trustable prospect of them all.

Many experts disagree, and those disagreements also affect the Denver Nuggets at 21st overall. Often, a team focused on drafting “best player available” rather than “biggest need” every year, the Nuggets are in a different position now. They have championship aspirations as soon as next season, and any player they select should be someone they believe can contribute to that goal sooner rather than later.

So, who do the experts around the NBA believe the Nuggets will select at 21st overall on draft night?


ESPN

The pick: Jalen Williams | Wing | Santa Clara

Key Quote from Jonathan Givony: “The versatility offered by Williams could be attractive to general manager Calvin Booth. Williams has the length to defend power forwards with his 7-2 wingspan, but had the court vision, playmaking and shooting to be utilized at point guard in college, which should allow him to slide all over the floor for a team such as Denver that is one of the NBA’s most positionless.”

Ryan’s big board ranking15th overall

Ryan’s thoughts: Jalen Williams is a versatile wing option with the ability to defend multiple positions. He’s athletic enough to stay with guards and strong enough to battle with forwards. His playmaking vision and shotmaking prowess at nearly 6’6″ offer some intriguing possibilities. Williams is tailor made for the direction the NBA is heading as a long, switchable, athletic wing with upside. Whoever selects him will be happy to add him to the mix.

The Athletic

The pick: Jalen Williams | Wing | Santa Clara

Key Quote from Sam Vecenie: “Williams is my first surprise spike up the board. He has been a significant riser as teams have actually gone back through tape and done the work. There just aren’t many holes in his game.”

Ryan’s big board ranking15th overall

Ryan’s thoughts: Given that Williams went to Santa Clara and is in his third year, it isn’t surprising that he’s flown under the radar. It also isn’t surprising that multiple experts think he makes sense for the Nuggets. He’s a bit more pro ready than some younger guys, and the Nuggets have to revitalize their wing position if they hope to go anywhere next year. Williams probably wouldn’t start, but he would almost certainly be a rotation player after he settles in.

The Ringer

The pick: Bryce McGowens | Wing | Nebraska

Key Quote from Kevin O’Connor: “At this point, McGowens feels like the highest upside choice considering Denver’s needs. With his size, he has shown more than enough scoring flashes to inspire thoughts about what he’d look like next to Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic. He’d slide right between them as a scoring wing, providing balance on the roster.”

Ryan’s big board ranking39th overall

Ryan’s thoughts: I don’t really believe in Bryce McGowens as an impact piece. He played for a poor Nebraska team that went 4-16 during conference play and struggled to elevate the play of those around him. He’s a slashing scorer with plenty of confidence, but he doesn’t do much else that the Nuggets would be interested in. Kevin O’Connor is much higher on his potential than I am, but even he called McGowens a “sloppy defender without technique, desire, or awareness at the college level.” That’s a red flag for me.

Bleacher Report

The pick: Tyty Washington | Guard | Kentucky

Key Quote from Jonathan Wasserman: “One general manager at the combine expressed disappointment in Washington not scrimmaging. Confidence in him has faded, despite the possibility that an ankle injury had something to do with his underwhelming second half the year. In some scouts’ minds, Washington is closer to the late first round than the late lottery.”

Ryan’s big board ranking22nd overall

Ryan’s thoughts: There’s a lot to like about Tyty Washington at the guard spot. He’s strong and stocky enough to battle in the post against bigger players, and he has pretty solid footwork and form on his shot. He can play on or off the ball, which is great. The problem for Denver of course is that he’s 6’3″, and they really don’t need another guard. With Jamal Murray, Monte Morris, and Bones Hyland all expected to play major minutes, adding a fourth guard simply makes Denver too small to match up with the top teams in the NBA. Drafting Washington would almost certainly signal that a trade is forthcoming.

Sports Illustrated

The pick: Blake Wesley | Guard | Notre Dame

Key Quote from Jeremy Woo: “He’ll either need to become a much more effective catch-and-shoot player, or get a lot of reps playing on the ball and sharpening his decision-making (potentially in the G League). A playoff team like Denver wouldn’t have to rush him into minutes, and the Nuggets tend to be comfortable taking chances on upside. They don’t have a slashing guard like Wesley on the roster, and he could pay real dividends in the long run.”

Ryan’s big board ranking27th overall

Ryan’s thoughts: Wesley is slightly taller than Tyty Washington, but not by a lot. The upside with Wesley is mostly theoretical, given that he shot 47.1% on twos, 30.3% on threes, and 65.7% from the free throw line in his lone college season. He was a solid on-ball defender though, and he shows a lot on tape that was simply better than the shooting percentages. He won’t be able to slide over to the small forward spot at the next level without giving up a bunch of size though, which is why I’d be hesitant about making this bet.

Basketball News

The pick: MarJon Beauchamp | Wing | G League Ignite

Key Quote from Basketball News staff: “After producing early for the G League Ignite, it is evident that MarJon Beauchamp has been working on both his body and skill set. When watching him, his physical frame and athleticism pop immediately on both ends of the floor. He provides a lot of versatility and has positional size. Beauchamp’s ball-handling and three-point shooting will certainly be his swing skills moving forward.”

Ryan’s big board ranking: 17th overall

Ryan’s thoughts: MarJon Beauchamp is built like the prototypical modern wing. An 8’10” standing reach comparable to most power forwards and the burst/athleticism of a high flyer, Beauchamp clearly has all of the physical tools necessary to succeed. He also has a disciplined defensive mentality and willingness to cut and slash on the offensive end. He needs some time to work out his shot mechanics, but if that gets squared away, he’s the ideal starting wing for any team looking to compete.

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