5 prospects Denver Nuggets could select with No. 14 pick in NBA draft

Miles Bridges of the Michigan State Spartans celebrates after scoring against the Penn State Nittany Lions in the second half during the Big Ten Basketball Tournament at Verizon Center on March 9, 2017 in Washington, D.C.

Luck was not on the Nuggets’ side during the NBA draft lottery, as Denver kept the No. 14 pick.

Still, gems can be discovered in the middle of the first round. Just ask the Nuggets, who last year took rookie of the year contender Donovan Mitchell with the 13th selection as part of a draft-night trade with Utah, for which Mitchell now plays.

Here are some prospects that Denver could target with the 14th pick:

Miles Bridges, Michigan State small forward

This is a reach, as Bridges is a borderline top-10 pick. But the 6-foot-6 combo forward could provide immediate wing help if he falls to the Nuggets, as Wilson Chandler has a player option in his contract for next season and Will Barton is an unrestricted free agent. Bridges averaged 17.1 points and 7.0 rebounds per game last season for a Michigan State team that won the Big Ten regular-season title. His athleticism and ability to guard multiple positions are major pluses, but there are legitimate concerns about his outside shooting.

Robert Williams, Texas A&M power forward/center

Nikola Jokic and Paul Millsap will be Denver’s starting frontcourt pairing for at least one more season. But the 6-10 Williams, the co-defensive player of the year in the SEC, could be an intriguing developmental project. He already boasts fantastic athleticism to run the floor and elevate for blocked shots, along with the strength to finish inside and rebound. But is offensive game needs refining, and there are questions about his consistency and motor.

Kevin Knox, Kentucky forward

How about another Kentucky prospect to join Jamal Murray and Trey Lyles? Knox is a 6-9 combo forward with an impressive blend of athleticism and strength. A knock against Knox? He’s not a terrific shooter, a necessary skill at the next level for a stretch-4. But he’s only 18 years old, meaning there’s probably still plenty of room for development.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Kentucky guard

Knox is not the only Kentucky product who could be a fit with the Nuggets. Gilgeous-Alexander is a perimeter defensive pest, a skill that could immediately help a Denver team that again struggled mightily on that end of the floor this past season. Another positive? Gilgeous-Alexander steadily improved throughout his only college season, finishing with an average of 14.4 points, 5.1 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game. The 6-6 combo guard could back up Jamal Murray at the point or play alongside him. Veteran Devin Harris, for whom Denver traded at the February deadline, is an unrestricted free agent, while 2017 second-round pick Monte Morris could need more time to develop.

Dzanan Musa, Bosnian small forward

This Nuggets front office has had tons of success finding talent on the international market, from drafting Jokic (Serbia) and Jusuf Nurkic (Bosnia) to signing Torrey Craig out of Australia’s National Basketball League last year. Is Musa next? The 19-year-old is a deadly perimeter shooter and solid ball-handler. But the 6-8 wing will need to develop athletically to defend in the NBA.

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