Fresh off of an NBA championship, Denver went into the draft with the need for extra depth off the bench. Guard Jamal Murray, forward Michael Porter Jr. and center Nikola Jokic highlight the players who could return for the Nuggets in the 2023-24 season, according to sports contract and salary website Spotrac. Nine players could be under contract for Denver next season. Six players are listed as unrestricted free agents.
The Nuggets loaded up on draft picks before draft night. They traded for No. 29 and the No. 32 picks in the 2023 NBA Draft on Wednesday. They shipped the least favorable of their two first-round picks in 2024 and the No. 40 pick in the 2023 Draft to the Indiana Pacers, according to CBS Sports. Denver acquired a first and second-round pick in 2024 and a 2023 second-round selection from the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for a protected 2029 first-round pick earlier this month.
Who did the Nuggets pick with their selections in Thursday's draft?
The Nuggets selected Gonzaga guard Julian Strawther with the No. 29 pick in the 2023 NBA draft.
Strawther, a former 4-star recruit from Las Vegas, Nev., chose to commit to the Bulldogs over offers from Florida, Florida State, Marquette, Washington, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Georgetown, Illinois, Kansas and Oklahoma, among others, according to 247Sports. He joined a 2020 recruiting class that took seventh place in the country and featured now-Orlando Magic guard Jalen Suggs.
The 6-foot-7-inch guard averaged 15.2 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game during his third season with Gonzaga. He hit 40.8% of his 3-point shots, good enough to take third place on the Bulldogs' roster.
Strawther went over how playing alongside a talented Bulldogs roster prepared him for the league in a one-on-one interview with the Indiana Pacers.
“It's huge,” Strawther said, via The Pacers. “Just understanding your role. Understanding when guys have it going, being able to get them the ball. Playing with some of the great guys to come to this level, everybody is the best in the world. Understanding that everybody has their own talents and how you fit in.”
The Nuggets selected Penn State guard Jalen Pickett with the No. 32 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft.
Pickett spent three years with the Siena Saints before transferring to Penn State before the 2021-22 season. He averaged 17.7 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.6 assists per game for the Nittany Lions last season. Though his 3-point shot fluctuated during his five-year collegiate career, he finished the 2022-23 season with a comfortable 38.1% average from beyond the arc.
Pickett highlighted the Nuggets' culture after being selected by Denver on draft night.
“They have a great culture, they have a lot of great players and I know they're hungry to compete,” Pickett said, via RochesterFirst.com. “All they talk about is being a dynasty so I know they want more. I can't wait to bring my energy and bring what I know to the team and hopefully get another championship.”
The Nuggets took Clemson forward Hunter Tyson with the No. 37 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft.
Tyson, a 2022-23 All-ACC First Team selection and a five-year forward for the Tigers, averaged 15.3 points, 9.6 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game last season. His 3-point shot improved throughout his time with Clemson, ending with a 36.6% average after shooting from 40% or more in two of his five collegiate seasons.
Tyson said he grew the most as a leader during a one-on-one interview with the Pacers.
“I really bought into my role as team captain,” Tyson said. “I was team captain the year prior. That was a really good learning experience for me. This past year, I was able to build upon that. I really just felt like, with the help of my coaching staff and teammates, I took a big step as a leader this past year.”