Allen Crabbe, No. 27 (Mock Draft)
Denver adds a sweet-shooting wing to their high-powered offense.
by Mirin Fader/ @mirinfader
In just a few months, the Nuggets went from being an exciting, up-and-coming team that won a franchise-record 57 regular-season games, to a disillusioned group with little resemblance to the underdog that stunned the Western Conference.
It’s been a strange offseason.
First 2013 Executive of the Year GM Masai Ujiri left for the Raptors. Then 2013 Coach of the Year George Karl was fired. Finally the organization’s hope for a franchise player in Andre Iguodala faded as he opted out of the final year of his contract to become an unrestricted free agent.
Could all of the Nuggets’ promise now be in peril? Not if you remember what the team accomplished without a so-called “superstar.”
Denver had the third-best record in the West and a League-best home record at 38-3. They ranked first in scoring offense. As management changes, it’s important to continue developing the team’s core of young, hard-nosed role players who played well off of each other.
The Nuggets don’t need to draft a savior. They’re just a few pieces away from transitioning from being merely an exciting team that people enjoy watching, to a frighteningly exciting team that no one wants to lose to.
With outside shooing threat Danilo Gallinari still recovering from a knee injury, and Iguodala’s future uncertain, the Nuggets need a shooter who can consistently knock down shots in a firepower offensive system. A guy who doesn’t try to do too much—but who can mold into a superstar a couple years down the line.
Ty Lawson is flourishing at the point. He just needs a new sidekick to dish to on the wing to catch and shoot.
With the 27th pick in the 2013 SLAMonline Mock Draft, the Denver Nuggets select…
Allen Crabbe from Cal.
Crabbe lives on the perimeter. Over the last three years at Cal, he shot 38.2 percent from three. Certainly Crabbe’s shooting percentage would have helped Denver against the Warriors. In their disappointing first-round exit, the Nuggets shot just 43.8 percent from the field and 31.3 percent from three, including a dismal 34.7 percent on field goals in the Game 6 finale.
As this past season’s Pac-12 Player of the Year, Crabbe averaged 18.6 points a game, and according to Synergy Sports, shot 44.1 percent on catch-and-shoot opportunities. Crabbe finished third on Cal’s all-time three-point field goals list with 209.
He’s got a bit of a chip on his shoulder after scoring just 8 points on 3-9 shooting in a 66-60 loss to No. 4 Syracuse in the third round of the NCAA Tournament, struggling to get a rhythm against the Orange’s 2-3 zone. Still, it’s clear he can score, putting up 20 points or more in 15 games this season.
Not to be overlooked, a great deal of Denver’s problems stem from the defensive end. Ranking 23rd in the League in points allowed, the Nuggets’ weakness in closing out were exposed by Golden State, who shot a blistering 49.4 percent from the field and 40.1 percent from long distance in the series.
But at 6-6 and 197 pounds with a wingspan of 6-11.25, Crabbe has the potential to become a solid defender. He averaged 6 rebounds a game this past season and must continue the trend. Expanding his reputation on the defensive end is imperative in avoiding one-dimensional scouting reports that will focus exclusively on his offensive production.
He’s attractive to the Nuggets because of potential similarities to Iguodala, who could serve as a mentor if he sticks around. Iguodala’s versatility at the forward spot and tenacity on defense are a good model for how Crabbe can expand other aspects of his game at his size.
Crabbe’s shooting can open up the middle for post players Kenneth Faried and JaVale McGee, who will only get more touches as teams are forced to pay more attention to Crabbe on the outside.
It’s going to take more than one player to break Denver’s drought of losing in the first round nine of the past 10 seasons. But what a young team needs more than anything else is consistency, and Crabbe is the kind of guy who can produce every time he’s on the floor.
|2013 SLAMonline Mock Draft|
|1||Cavs||Otto Porter||16||Celtics||Mason Plumee|
|2||Magic||Nerlens Noel||17||Hawks||Lucas Nogueira|
|3||Wizards||Anthony Bennett||18||Hawks||Tony Mitchell|
|4||Bobcats||Ben McLemore||19||Cavs||Sergey Karasev|
|5||Suns||Victor Oladipo||20||Bulls||Gorgui Dieng|
|6||Pelicans||Trey Burke||21||Jazz||Ricky Ledo|
|7||Kings||CJ McCollum||22||Nets||Dennis Schroeder|
|8||Pistons||Michael Carter-Williams||23||Pacers||Reggie Bullock|
|9||TWolves||Kentavious Caldwell-Pope||24||Knicks||Nate Wolters|
|10||Blazers||Shabazz Muhammad||25||Clippers||Jamaal Franklin|
|11||Sixers||Steven Adams||26||TWolves||Rudy Gobert|
|12||Thunder||Cody Zeller||27||Nuggets||Allen Crabbe|