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While Chad Ford may not have liked the Denver Nuggets draft as enthusiastically as others, CBS Sports' Matt Moore and Ben Golliver are big fans of what the team did. Ford wonders how much playing time Jordan Hamilton will receive, but Moore and Golliver absolutely love the pick:
Hamilton is highway robbery. They surrendered Felton, who they neither needed nor wanted, and got back Andre Miller AND Hamilton, who bizarrely slid down the draft. Hamilton can do the work of Wilson Chandler should he depart in free agency. He's long with range and, next to Danilo Galinari [sic], he makes the Nuggets look freakishly athletic. Great draft for Masai Ujiri.
This was a great first draft for Masai Ujiri. He got a rebounder in Faried and Hamilton can be a scoring option off the bench to start off his career. Overall, the Nuggets received an 'A-'.
The Jazz received a 'B+' for Enes Kanter and Alec Burks; the Timberwolves took a 'B' for their selection of Derrick Williams; the Oklahoma City Thunder took PG Reggie Jackson, who will have a hard time finding playing time, but the CBS Sports guys still consider it a great value pick; and the Trail Blazers, they believe, made a reach with Nolan Smith, who wasn't going to be selected in the early 20s.
Will these grades prove correct a few years down the line?
What new players will we see in the Northwest division over the coming years? As we already know with the Denver Nuggets, Kenneth Faried and Jordan Hamilton will don powder blue for the team. The Utah Jazz are looking in good shape with the additions of Enes Kanter and former Colorado Buffaloes guard Alec Burks. But will a different team in the division come out on top in this draft?
Maybe the Minnesota Timberwolves will take that spot. Holding the No. 2 overall selection, the T'Wolves drafted Arizona forward Derrick Williams, but after that it's up in the air on how well they did, as Tom Ziller writes in his 2011 NBA Draft Grades. At pick No. 20, the Wolves drafted Donatas Motiejunas and then sent him and Jonny Flynn to Houston for a 2013 first-rounder and cash.
The Blazers took Duke guard Nolan Smith with the No. 21 pick and then made a bunch of trades, sending Andre Miller to the Nuggets for Raymond Felton. To complete that deal, the Blazers sent Rudy Fernandez to the Dallas Mavericks for No. 26 overall pick Jordan Hamilton. Hamilton was then flipped to the Nuggets to complete the deal. The Blazers get a 'D-' from SB Nation.
The Oklahoma City Thunder tapped Boston College guard and Colorado Springs native Reggie Jackson with the No. 24 pick. The Thunder gave Jackson a promise to take him at No. 24, so he didn't do much leading up to the draft, canceling interviews and workouts. They'll look to move Eric Maynor to open up playing time.
As is to be expected, draft graders will be divided over how to rate a team's selections. Case in for the 2011 NBA Draft is the Denver Nuggets. They wound up drafting Morehead State forward Kenneth Faried and traded for Texas forward Jordan Hamilton from the Trail Blazers (who acquired him from Dallas) and for Chukwudiebere Maduabum from the Lakers (more on the Chu).
On the one hand, we have SB Nation's Tom Ziller singing the praises for this draft class by giving the Nuggets an 'A+' in his 2011 NBA Draft Grades. He sees Faried as an instant impact player, believes Andre Miller works out for the team as either a backup or a future salary dump to retain Nene and sees the addition of Jordan Hamilton as icing on the cake.
But then Chad Ford takes a more pragmatic(?) look at the draft. He doesn't include the Felton-Miller swap in his calculation, though the other part of that deal (the acquisition of Jordan Hamilton) is. Ford like Faried and believes he will be a player in the league, but he isn't as high on him to be a starter. He also questions how much time Hamilton will see on the court with Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler also on the roster. Chu is a "big-time project," but he's Masai Ujiri's guy. Overall, Ford rates the draft at 'B.'
Inevitably it is time to start handing out early grades for how a team did in the 2011 NBA Draft. For that let's start with our neighbor to the west, the Utah Jazz, with their second draft pick (No. 12) of the night, having selected center Enes Kanter earlier in the proceedings.
Former Colorado Buffaloes guard Alec Burks had some buzz as at No. 7 with the Sacramento Kings and at No. 10 with the Milwaukee Bucks, but following a trade between those teams and the Charlotte Bobcats just hours before the draft Burks' stock appeared to be dropping.
That is, before the Utah Jazz jumped onto the clock at No. 12. They popped Burks, ending a potential free fall for the guard. Here's what Tom Ziller has to say on the addition of Burks in his 2011 NBA Draft Grades:
Burks showed little defense at Colorado, but has good size and a promising frame. Jerry Sloan would have turned Burks into a gritty fighter, and it's up to Ty Corbin to do just that. On the other end, Burks is a slasher who figures to draw plenty of contact and hopefully develop a jumper to space the floor for Kanter, Al Jefferson and/or Paul Millsap down low. I guess this means Gordon Hayward is a small forward, though.
Overall, Ziller gives the Jazz a 'B+' for the additions of Burks and Kanter. Buffs fans won't need to search far and wide to watch their former star play.
When draft grades for the 2011 NBA Draft start making their way out on Friday, the Denver Nuggets should be receiving one of the highest grades of all 30 teams. Let's break down what they did this year.
Pick No. 22: After months of speculation, the Nuggets picked up Morehead St. Eagles forward Kenneth Faried. He can be a starter at the 4 from Day 1 and make Kenyon Martin's expected departure acceptable. The Portland Trail Blazers could have had him one pick earlier at No. 21, but they went with Duke guard Nolan Smith.
Trade with Portland Trail Blazers: This could have been bad news if the Nuggets and the Blazers had decided to swap picks, but it didn't turn out that way. Instead, the teams swapped point guards Raymond Felton and Andre Miller. In addition, the Trail Blazers sent Rudy Fernanded to the Dallas Mavericks for the rights of No. 26 overall selection, Jordan Hamilton. The Blazers turned those right around and sent them to the Nuggets along with a future second-round pick.
Overall, this was an excellent job. The Nuggets now have a legitimate power forward who will be on the court to rebound and rebound all the time. Hamilton is a young scorer who will replace J.R. Smith. The Nuggets do plan on keeping Miller, which will affect Ty Lawson, but no one knows to what extent right now.
Draft night for the Denver Nuggets just got better if reports of a three-team trade come to fruition. The Nuggets and the Trail Blazers will still swap Raymond Felton and Andre Miller, but the Dallas Mavericks will also be involved. Reportedly, the Mavericks will send the No. 26 overall selection, Jordan Hamilton, to the Blazers for Rudy Fernandez. In turn, Hamilton will be sent to the Nuggets to complete the deal.
So the Nuggets wind up with Kenneth Faried, whom they drafted at No. 22, and will also add Jordan Hamilton. So Faried replaces Kenyon Martin and Hamilton will allow the Nuggets to let J.R. Smith walk. All in all, the Denver Nuggets should come out with one of the better early draft grades. It would have been high with just Kenneth Faried alone since he will be a starter for the Nuggets from Day 1.
While early rumors existed that the Denver Nuggets and the Portland Trail Blazers would swap point guards and draft picks, it now appears that the teams will swap point guards Raymond Felton and Andre Miller and other pieces, but not draft picks. That means Kenneth Faried will stay a Denver Nugget and Nolan Smith will be a Blazer.
So the Nuggets move a point guard in Raymond Felton who was going to be a backup and receive another point guard in return, Andre Miller. Miller played 2003-2006 with the Nuggets before he was traded to Allen Iverson. Karl has missed Miller since then and now he has him again.
However, it still appears that the point is Lawson's spot to hold. How Miller responds to coming off the bench is another matter. More to come once this is official.
The Denver Nuggets selected Morehead St. Eagles forward Kenneth Faried with the No. 22 overall pick. Once the Portland Trail Blazers selected Duke guard Nolan Smith with the No. 21 pick, long rumored to be Faried's landing spot. Rumors of a Portland-Denver swap of Andre Miller for Raymond Felton are currently being reported but the picks will not be swapped.
Faried is a pure rebounder in the NBA. He had 1,673 rebounds in college, more than when Tim Duncan was at Wake Forest. Faried averaged 14.5 rebounds as a senior and 13.0 rebounds for each of the previous two seasons. He doesn't have much of an offensive game, but that's not what the Nuggets drafted him for. He will come in, be a true rebounder, ease the transition away from Kenyon Martin and give the team a true power forward.
After all the draft speculation, the mock drafts and the last-minute trades, Colorado Buffaloes guard Alec Burks went No. 12 overall to Alec Burks. This is the highest a Colorado Buffaloes player has been selected since Chauncey Billups went No. 3 overall in the 1997 draft. The last time a CU player was selected was in 2004 when David Harrison went 29th overall to the Indiana Paces.
With the Jazz, Burks can now work on becoming a shooter, as he is already a scorer. Defense will also be one area he needs to improve upon.
The 2011 NBA Draft kicked off on Thursday night with the expected result: Duke point guard Kyrie Irving went No. 1 overall to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs will need to make some moves to free up playing time for Irving, especially with Baron Davis and his large contract on the roster.
He is the first Duke player to be selected No. 1 overall since Elton Brand was selected there in the 1999 draft. Irving, though, barely played as a freshman, seeing action in just 11 games due to injury.
This was Cleveland's first No. 1 overall selection since 2003 when they drafted LeBron James. Irving is nowhere near the talent level of LeBron. Will Irving be able to deliver the championship that LeBron was unable to bring home.
Now the draft gets interesting and all hell can break loose.
For more on the NBA Draft, visit SB Nation's 2011 NBA Draft Hub.
While Denver Nuggets GM Masai Ujiri has let it be known that he is comfortable with keeping the No. 22 pick, he is still working the phones to see what could emerge. And earlier in the day, reports NBA.com's David Aldridge, the Nuggets discussed swapping point guard Raymond Felton and the No. 22 pick with the Portland Trail Blazers for Andre Miller and the No. 21 pick. Aldridge says that the Blazers won't go through with it since the Nuggets are asking to include other parts in the deal.
Kenneth Faried has become a favorite mock draft selection to the Blazers at this point, so are the Nuggets looking to move up and acquire him?
Just hours away from the the 2011 NBA Draft, Colorado Buffaloes guard Alec Burks must be wondering where he will go, especially after a reported three-team trade between the Charlotte Bobcats, the Milwaukee Bucks and the Sacramento Kings is about to be consummated. According to ESPN's Chad Ford:
Corrected deal: Bucks get Beno, Stephen Jackson, Shaun Livingston & 19. Bobcats get pick 7 & Maggette. Kings get 10 & John Salmons.less than a minute ago via Twitter for Mac Favorite Retweet ReplyChad Ford
The Bucks and the Kings were two teams connected to Burks in many mock drafts, but with all these parts moving it is hard to say where exactly these teams will look at in the draft. Last-minute mock drafts, go! I'm sure some will go with Jimmer Fredette to the Kings, as is being suggested.
Colorado Buffaloes fans and Denver Nuggets fans will have plenty to look forward to during Thursday night's 2011 NBA Draft. Buffs guard Alec Burks is set to become the highest drafted CU player since Chauncey Billups went third overall in 1997. He could go anywhere from No. 7 (Sacramento) to No. 10 (Milwaukee) or even farther down, out of a lottery position.
The Denver Nuggets hold the No. 22 pick and will make their first first-round selection since 2005 when they drafted Julius Hodge (a failure) and Jarrett Jack (a journeyman) with the 20th and 22nd overall selections.
Television coverage of the 2011 NBA Draft begins at 5 p.m. MT on ESPN, though selections likely won't start until 5:30 p.m. MT. The draft runs 60 picks long and both rounds will take place on Thursday evening. The Nuggets, as of now, hold just the No. 22 overall pick. Visit our mock draft StoryStream to find out who the Nuggets might select.
Here is the complete draft order for Round 1:
1 Cleveland Cavaliers (from L.A. Clippers)
2 Minnesota Timberwolves
3 Utah Jazz (from New Jersey)
4 Cleveland Cavaliers
5 Toronto Raptors
6 Washington Wizards
7 (reported trade with Bucks, Kings)
8 Detroit Pistons
9 Charlotte Bobcats
11 Golden State Warriors
12 Utah Jazz
13 Phoenix Suns
14 Houston Rockets
15 Indiana Pacers
16 Philadelphia 76ers
17 New York Knicks
18 Washington Wizards (from Atlanta)
19 (reported trade with Bobcats, Kings)
20 Minnesota Timberwolves (from Memphis via Utah)
21 Portland Trail Blazers
22 Denver Nuggets
23 Houston Rockets (from Orlando via Phoenix)
24 Oklahoma City Thunder
25 Boston Celtics
26 Dallas Mavericks
27 New Jersey Nets (from L.A. Lakers)
28 Chicago Bulls (from Miami via Toronto)
29 San Antonio Spurs
30 Chicago Bulls
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