With the first of their two second-round picks, the Denver Nuggets selected French big man Petr Cornelie at No. 53 overall.
Cornelie, 20, played last season with France’s Le Mans Sarthe and averaged 8.3 points and 5.2 rebounds last season, shot 48.9 percent from the field and 40.0 percent from three.
He’s a project and extremely raw but has upside.
Nuggets get French PF Petr Cornelie at No. 53. Another good athlete who can stretch the floor. Solid draft-and-stash candidate.
— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) June 24, 2016
The Nuggets hosted Cornelie for a pre-draft workout leading up to the draft and apparently made an impact with the Nuggets front office.
“My ball handling, my passing skills, and my physicality,” Petr said at the workout. “I think I can run the floor. I’m fast for my height. I can shoot the ball. I can do a bit of everything for my height.”
Standing 7-feet ½ without shoes, with a 7’1 wingspan, Cornelie is a smooth athlete who moves fluidly and plays above the rim with ease. He’s a “stretch 4-man” in his words who possesses a beautiful jump-shot complete with a high release point and a very natural touch, shooting 40% from beyond the arc this season. Cornelie has made major strides with his approach to the game this year, and looked like a veteran in the pro game we took in, scoring 14 points and grabbing 5 rebounds in 14 foul plagued minutes of action. He plays with great confidence and maturity in a tough and physical league, and although he struggles with the lack of bulk he possesses relative to the older players he faces, he shows great potential defensively on the perimeter thanks to his quick feet and ability to switch on ball screens. Finally, he draws rave reviews for his personality from everyone that has been around him, and came off as being highly engaging and possibly the best interview we conducted from the many players we spoke with on this trip.
It’s unlikely Cornelie comes over to the NBA next season and will likely spend at least another year developing in Europe.