It was an exciting day yesterday at Ball Arena as the Denver Nuggets hosted their first set of pre-draft workouts that was open to the media. These were the first workouts media have been able to go to in two years as everything the last two years had to be done via ZOOM.
The Nuggets did not disappoint as they brought in six players to work out: Josh Minott (Memphis), Jermaine Samuels (Villanova), Lucas Williamson (Loyola), Wendell Moore Jr. (Duke), Jake LaRavia (Wake Forest), and local prospect David Roddy from CSU.
Moore, LaRavia, and Roddy highlighted the workout and all feel like players the Nuggets may consider at 21st overall. All three players had really solid workouts and offer a number of different skill sets the Nuggets may consider come draft night.
One of the glaring things regarding yesterday’s workouts was every players height was 6-foot-4 or higher. Williamson was the shortest player in attendance at 6’4” and was the only guard as all five of the other prospects were forwards.
It certainly feels like the Nuggets are targeting a certain type of player as Calvin Booth enters his first draft as the President of Basketball Operations:
“I’m excited about it,” Booth told the media on his new role with the Nuggets. “I’ve been preparing for this ever since I took the front office job with New Orleans in 2013. Great opportunity, we have a great roster, a great coach, and I’m raring to go.”
It’s no secret the Nuggets need to upgrade their defense this offseason and a lot of the players they brought in Tuesday could fill that role. It also would not be a bad idea for the Nuggets to add more shooting to their roster, which is something a number of the players that worked out Tuesday displayed at a high level.
Let’s get into the takeaways from Tuesday’s workouts and really start to analyze whether or not any of these players could be targets for the Nuggets come draft night.
Jake LaRavia impressed and could be an option for the Nuggets first round pick
It feels like LaRavia’s stock is a little all over the place as some people see him as a second rounder, while others believe he has the potential to go in the later half of the first round. After seeing LaRavia work out yesterday for the Nuggets, he easily feels like someone they may consider with their first round pick because of the offensive and defensive upside he possesses.
LaRavia was putting on an absolute clinic from beyond the arc yesterday and the biggest thing that stood out in his game was just how easy he shot the basketball. There was no wasted movement and everything about his shooting stroke was pure as day.
Jake LaRavia finished with 20, 9, 5 assists, 4 steals in Wake Forest’s win over Notre Dame. Pretty detectable ball instincts. Nothing flashy. A 6-8 forward who can hit 3s, score/playmake from post, add value as ball-mover with decision-making/passing skill. Averaging 1.7 steals. https://t.co/44TG0SZuvX pic.twitter.com/0iqlN3iMZZ
—Jonathan Wasserman (@NBADraftWass) February 23, 2022
Of all the players the Nuggets worked out — and this was just in the portion open to the media — LaRavia definitely had the best shooting performance. In his three year collegiate career—two years at Indiana State and one at Wake Forest—LaRavia was a career 37.1 percent shooter from deep and shot 38.4 percent from three this past season with the Demon Deacons.
Not only can LaRavia score the basketball, but he can also defend at a high level and guard positions one through four. That defensive versatility is something the Nuggets have desperately been looking for and is something LaVaria could provide off the bench as early as next season.
If you are looking for more info on LaVaria, check out his draft profile that was published just yesterday here at Denver Stiffs!
David Roddy has a chance to be something special, whether it’s with the Nuggets or another team
It was a special day for Colorado State fans on Tuesday as the Nuggets worked out Roddy, who will go down as one of the best players to wear a Rams uniform. Roddy did exactly what he does as he shot the ball well and showed out in front of the Nuggets coaching staff and front office that already seem to have an infatuation with the local prospect.
You could tell Roddy was giving his all with how tired he looked at the end of his workout, which is exactly how he plays when he’s on the court. Roddy is constantly giving it his all and being a leader for his teammates around him, which was also evident on Tuesday with how much he was hyping up the other prospects and constantly bringing energy.
“Yeah I would say so,” Roddy said on the Nuggets interest in him following his workout and meeting with the team a couple weeks ago. “Everybody’s a fan of my game in here. They’ve told me that they’re just going to keep watching me and wishing me the best of luck. Just a bunch of great guys, Calvin (Booth) and coach Malone, they’ve been watching me for a long time.”
Booth echoed Roddy’s statement in his presser with the media calling Roddy a “fantastic player” who can pass, play above the rim, and said there really isn’t much he can’t do on the basketball court.
It certainly feels like the interest is real between the Nuggets and Roddy, but 21st overall may be a little too rich. One thing is certain though and it’s that Roddy’s draft stock is rising as he’s already had eight workouts with teams — including yesterday’s — and said he has a number of workouts still on his schedule.
Wendell Moore Jr. shot the lights out and could be another option at 21st overall
There’s a lot to like about Moore and his potential fit with the Nuggets as he would not only give Denver a knock down shooter, but defensive versatility as well. Moore plays with tremendous effort on both ends of the floor and has the ability to be a lock down defender at the next level.
After struggling to score from three his first two seasons at Duke, Moore shot an exceptional 41.3 percent from three this past season and looks to really have improved that area of his game:
Moore has phenomenal upside defensively and if he can continue to shoot the ball like he did on Tuesday he has the potential to be a deadly three-and-D player at the next level. Not only could Moore matchup positions one through four, but he could provide the Nuggets with another scorer off the bench who could eventually slot into a starting role down the road.
It feels like all the guys mentioned above could be options for the Nuggets first round pick, but that Moore could be the most likely between all three. Moore constantly got better during his three years at Duke and the best could still be yet to come for this talented prospect.