The NBA draft combine is wrapping up in Chicago today and this week most teams across the league got their first chance to interview and speak with prospects face-to-face.
Like every organization, the Nuggets are in attendance in Chicago and met with a number of prospects they may or may not be interested in drafting next month. Two prospects Denver spoke with over the past few days are Creighton big man Justin Patton and Iowa State point guard Monte Morris.
Patton, 19, is an athletic 6-foot-11 center known for his exceptional athleticism and versatile skill-set. He can get up-and-down the floor with ease, is a great rim-runner in transition and finished 74.8 percent of his attempts around the rim, per Synergy, during his lone year at Creighton. Patton averaged 12.9 points per game last season.
While it’s easy to envision Patton settling into an NBA offense and isn’t someone that demands the ball on a possession-by-possession basis, last year he struggled to play through contact and that’s likely the biggest difficulty the 229-pound center will face during his rookie year. Patton averaged 1.4 blocks per game during his freshman year and showed signs of a future as a solid rim protector, but only averaged 6.2 rebounds in 25.3 minutes per game.
DraftExpress has Patton slated to go 20th overall to the Portland Trail Blazers in their latest mock draft, updated May 11.
Another player the Nuggets have met with in Chicago is Morris, a four-year point guard out of Iowa State.
Morris, 21, was a first-team All-Big 12 selection in 2017 and did a little bit of everything for the Cyclones last season. The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 16.4 points, 4.8 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game, and shot 37.8 percent from three. Morris is a heady floor general, who led the NCAA in assist to turnover ratio in three of his four years in Ames.
Morris doesn’t have the ceiling of Patton or any other projected first-round picks but he’s a high IQ player and someone that could stick around the league for a while if he finds the right opportunity. He’s durable, never missed a game in college and does a bit of everything on both ends of the floor.
He’s currently mocked to go in the second round, 47th overall to the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Nuggets hold their own first round pick which will be decided in Tuesday’s lottery, likely No. 13 overall, and also two second-round selections at 49 and 51.