Royce White, No. 20 (Mock)
The Nuggets pick a point forward who led his team in every statistical category.
by Cub Buenning / @cubbuenning
Since the trade that sent Carmelo Anthony to New York and brought a completely new look to the Mile High City, the Denver Nuggets have developed into a counter-example to the “star” model that has become the norm in the NBA. The last three decades of the professional game have produced Champions laced with superstars. Without that high wattage hero, the larger portion of the League has generally been on the outside looking in come June.
But this season brought forth the emergence of several of these enigmas—teams build on depth, ball movement, but with no All-NBA member. We saw three primary examples of this model with the Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers and the aforementioned Nuggets.
From Ty Lawson to Danilo Gallinari to Arron Afflalo to the steal the team picked in last year’s Draft in Kenneth Faried, there are plenty of pieces. Throw in JaVale McGee, Timofey Mozgov and the possible return of Wilson Chandler, and the Nuggets are far better off than many thought they would be when they jettisoned Anthony to Gotham last spring.
As any team that has become an annual one-and-doner in the postseason, the Nuggets still have several needs. The off-guard spot could always use an influx of young talent. Afflalo is solid, but might be better suited in a reserve role. Second-year guard Jordan Hamilton is likely to see added minutes as the entire team’s coaching staff and front office are enchanted with his talent and work effort.
This is not the most accurate perimeter shooting team, so a rifle-man type could also be noted as one the team’s glaring weaknesses. More than anything, however, this team needs added depth at pretty much every position. Denver is building a roster that competes for minutes and pushes each other to further development. Take the best guy; the most complete player; the one who can produce the most in several areas—a stat-sheet stuffer. This one is easy.
With the 20th pick of the SLAMonline Mock Draft, the Denver Nuggets select….
Royce White from Iowa State.
As the only player in Division-I hoops to lead his team in every statistical category, White had one of the most comprehensively dominant collegiate seasons in recent memory. With team-high averages of 13.5 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 1.2 steals, 1 blocks, White showed an advanced ability to fit into any role his team may require.
At a “grown-man” 6-8, 260 pounds, White often served as the Cyclones’ de facto point guard. All offensive possessions went through his hand at some point. His size, savvy and court vision grade as high as any at this level since Danny Manning back in 1986.
White defines the little-used position of “point forward.” The sheer absence of guys like this around the League may be leading to his availability at this point in the Draft. Teams aren’t used to scouting or utilizing a player of White’s talent.
While there are many concerns surrounding some obscure issues that White has dealt with off the court (some petty theft issues and a disorder that prevents him from flying), those are overlooked due to his “uniqueness of talent.” At this spot, to find a guy of his size who can create off the dribble and stretch the defense is a major steal.
The other comparison that comes to mind is that of current San Antonio Spur, Boris Diaw: big dude; knows the game; can knock down shots; undervalued.
Royce White has major value at No. 20.
|2012 SLAMonline Mock Draft|
|1||Hornets||Anthony Davis||16||Rockets||Tyler Zeller|
|2||Bobcats||Michael Kidd-Gilchrist||17||Mavs||Fab Melo|
|3||Wizards||Brad Beal||18||TWolves||Dion Waiters|
|4||Cavs||Thomas Robinson||19||Magic||Terrence Ross|
|5||Kings||Jared Sullinger||20||Nuggets||Royce White|
|13||Suns||Perry Jones III||28||Thunder|