June 25, 2012; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Nuggets president Josh Kroenke speaks during a press conference held at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Denver Nuggets: With The 11th Pick ...


The Denver Nuggets’ biggest summer decision is FINALLY here. It is NBA Draft week, my friends! We’ve been looking at how all the immense talent in this draft fits with the Nuggets’ roster here (part 1), here (part 2), and here (part 2.5), but now it’s time to make that final call.

So, Nuggets general manager Tim Connelly has got a lot options laid out in front of him. This is the Wynn Brunch Buffet of NBA drafts, and Tim Connelly won’t be the only general manager craving for seconds and another draft this good to come along. The Nuggets are 11th in line for the feast, and despite all trade chatter surrounding Kevin Love and coming out of the Nuggets front office, we have to think they’re staying put with two days left.

So, with the 11th pick in the 2014 NBA draft the Nuggets select … Gary Harris, 6’4″ shooting guard from Michigan State!

Or at least that’s the pick they should definitely make. Even with the bizarre promise that the Nuggets reportedly made to Dario Saric that they’re going to take him at No. 11, and even with all the talented draftees in this years draft … it’s clear that Gary Harris is the best fit for the Nuggets. Harris gives the Nuggets a defensive minded shooting guard with a high competitive nature and some quality shooting.

Mar 28, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Michigan State Spartans guard Gary Harris (14) drives to the basket against Virginia Cavaliers guard Malcolm Brogdon (15) during the second half in the semifinals of the east regional of the 2014 NCAA Mens Basketball Championship tournament at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Harris fills a defensive need the Nuggets lost when Andre Iguodala left: a defensive stopper at the guard position. Harris has been called the best defender in the draft, and given that the Nuggets are in the same division as Damian Lillard and Russell Westbrook, they’re going to need a defensive guard for years to come. Harris will be paired with a defensive coach in Brian Shaw, and it wouldn’t be crazy to imagine him getting on the court next season if the Nuggets need a stop.

Gary Harris might not be the “best player available” on ESPN’s board at No. 11, and he could easily be gone in the top 10. However, if the cards play right the Nuggets will fill their biggest need by taking him and avoiding Dario Saric.

The Nuggets’ roster is already full of power forwards with Kenneth Faried, J.J. Hickson and Darrell Arthur, which eliminates half the candidates, and it’s hard to imagine a big-time college scorer like Doug McDermott making a contribution as a rookie with Danilo Gallinari, Randy Foye, Wilson Chandler, and Ty Lawson taking ALL of the team’s shots.

Harris could be effective with the shots that come naturally in the offense. On top of the world class defense he played in college, when he averaged two steals a game, Harris managed to shoot 50.7 percent from the field, and 35.2 percent from deep in his senior season. That effectiveness is perfect for an offense that looks to make a lot of three pointers.

So guys, ever since that last loss to the Golden State Warriors we’ve been waiting to see how the Nuggets were going to get better this offseason. They’ve been all over the place in trade rumors, showing that Connelly is exploring all his options, but with two days before the draft it looks like the first move forward willbe drafting Michagan State shooting guard Gary Harris with the 11th pick.

Tags: Dario Saric Denver Nuggets Doug McDermott Gary Harris Nba Draft