With the seventh pick in the 2015 SB Nation Team Site NBA Draft, the Denver Nuggets select Emmanuel Mudiay from Guangdon Foshan (China), by way of Arlington, Texas.
From Denver Stiffs: The Nuggets are in need of point guard depth with Ty Lawson's future up in the air and Jameer Nelson set to opt out of the final year of his contract. Mudiay fits where the Nuggets want to go: he can play in transition, is versed in the pick-and-roll at the tender age of 19, and it's believed the work he's putting into his shot will pay off.
A physical point guard with size (6'5" and 200 pounds) is just what the Nuggets need. The front office was shocked that he was still available at this stage of the draft.
Taylor: Well, I guess the Ty Lawson era is over in Denver. I expect they will deal him soon. I like Mudiay’s game and am surprised he slipped this far, in case that wasn’t obvious. Denver still needs a lot of help but Mudiay should be a player they can build around.
Kevin: I think people are looking into the injury of Mudiay more than they should. I’m not sure exactly what he learned in China or how that is going to translate to the NBA game, but he does have a good mentor in Mike Malone. He’s going to have a bit longer leash in Denver than he did in Sacramento.
Since Mudiay landed in Denver, do you think we see a trade with Lawson now heading to Philadelphia?
Lucas: As the Nuggets said in their press release, it is rather shocking to see Mudiay still available at number seven, and the fact that they were able to snag arguably the best point guard in this draft without having to move into the top five is definitely a steal. At 6’5" 200 pounds Mudiay will need to put on some weight once he gets to Denver, but at 6’5" a 6’8" wingspan, he has great height and length for the point guard position. He is still a bit of a mystery as he missed the majority of the season with an ankle injury while playing in China, but he did average 17.7 points six rebounds, and nearly six assists, shooting 54.2% percent from two point range in 10 games before suffering his injury, and did record 34 points, 8 rebounds and four assists in his first playoff game upon returning.
Despite missing most of the season with an injury, the fact that Mudiay was able to enjoy a decent amount of success in a foreign country at 18 years old in itself is very impressive. Mudiay has serious athleticism, possessing speed, quickness and the ability to absorb contact and finish at the rim. He also uses his athleticism to his advantage on the glass, as evidenced by his 5.9 rebounding average last season. He will need to improve his ability to shoot, as he only knocked down 30% of his three point attempts before his ankle injury, and will need to make strides on defensive in order to reach his full potential, but if he does, don’t be surprised if Mudiay becomes a top five to seven point guard in this league.
Dontae: Now this is a pick that I can immediately see paying dividends. It's a solid pick on a player expected to have been a top 3 pick at one point. Ty Lawson has to pretty much gone (maybe to Sacramento), but it's a direction that this franchise needs to have at this point. Toiling in obscurity is not the plan for a franchise that finds it hard to attract big time free agents.
Mudiay gives them an athletic and exciting piece to begin a true rebuild. He can grow in a stress free atmosphere and not under the big lights of Los Angeles and New York.