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Three players I believe the Nuggets should be targeting.

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  • [Nuggets] Three players I believe the Nuggets should be targeting.

    Each one of these three guys has worked out for the Nuggets to date.

    Ricardo Ledo SG

    Mike Muscala C

    Erick Green PG

  • #2
    Ricardo Ledo

    One of the most naturally talented, highly skilled players at this event, Ricky Ledo (#22 ESPN, #25 Scout, #8 Rivals) showed the good and bad of his game this weekend, but clearly seems to have matured somewhat since the last time we saw him, being focused and playing smart basketball most of the time.

    On the offensive end, Ledo is nothing short of a superb talent, as he's an extremely potent scorer both attacking the basket and hitting perimeter jumpers. He seems to have taken his jump shot to the next level since we last saw him, as he hit an outstanding 9-for-17 threes in the two games here this weekend. More impressive is that most of them came pulling up off the dribble, where Ledo shows excellent balance, clear cut NBA range, and the ability and confidence to hit a shot with a hand in his face.

    As a shot creator, Ledo has no problems getting separation and creating both going to the rim and pulling up from mid or long range. He possess a very low, controlled dribble with all the advanced dribbling he needs, while showing good instincts as well. He won't blow you away with his first step or vertical leap, being a more fluid and agile than highly explosive athlete, but still has more than enough quickness to get by at any level and also changes speeds and directions well.

    Ledo does a good job finishing around the basket, showing great touch and creativity while being capable of finishing with both lay-ups and floaters as well as using either hand. He's also done a good job developing his playmaking skills, showing an improved feel in this area to take advantage of his excellent vision and passing abilities, something that was frequently on display here on both drive-and-dishes and drive-and-kicks. While not a pure point guard and probably best suited to play the two guard in the long run given his scoring abilities, Ledo reminds of O.J. Mayo with his unselfishness and versatility (while also being similar in size and athleticism, but not strength).

    On the defensive end, things were somewhat of a mixed bag for Ledo, not unlike what we observed the last time we saw him, but the highs were much higher this time, as he showed multiple prolonged flashes of high focus, high effort, and strong vocal leadership with his teammates. He's capable of being a very good defender both on and off the ball, and certainly is at times, but there are still times when he can get frustrated and not put in the effort on this end of the court, particularly when things aren't going well for him offensively.

    Looking forward, Ledo is clearly headed in the right direction with his development and appears to be making an effort to eliminate many of his old habits, but considering his rough background, it's not something that's going to happen overnight. Ledo transferred schools once again this season, marking the nth time he's done so in his high school career, and his poor body language and erratic decision-making do still pop up from time to time. He'll certainly be a player to keep a close eye on in college from day one, and if he continues maturing as a player and person he's capable of being as strong a prospect as virtually any guard in this class.
    Last edited by Matymaddog; 06-18-2013, 07:38 PM.


    • #3
      Mike Muscala

      After making steady and noteworthy across-the-board improvements in both his sophomore and junior seasons, Mike Muscala came back an even better player as a senior, continuing to take advantage of his steep learning curve en route to becoming one of the best scoring big men in the country.

      Muscala increased his pace adjusted points (+1.2), offensive rebounds (+0.1), defensive rebounds (+2.1), assists (+0.6), and blocks (+0.8) per-40 minutes this season, while also cutting down on his turnovers (-0.5). His overall rebounding improvement was so pronounced that he became the second best rebounder (14.8 boards per 40 minutes pace adjusted) in college basketball this season, and tied with Kevin Love and Andrew Bogut in our historical rebounding database.

      While Muscala's production and skill set improvements were probably most impressive for him as a senior, he's also continued to make subtle strides in filling out his frame, looking like a noticeably different person than the one we first profiled two years ago. His excellent size and length are clear positives for him from an NBA perspective, but he's done a great job of developing his frame to become less of a liability in the strength department, even if there's still plenty more work to be done. His frame still appears like it can handle quite a bit more weight, and he should benefit greatly transitioning to a NBA strength training regimen.

      On the offensive end, Muscala has developed into an incredibly dangerous post threat over the past three seasons, being equally dangerous with both his left and right-handed hook shots while sporting some deceptive range and quickness with his moves. He shows a very good feel when he gets the ball in his hands and is remarkably efficient with his movements, getting off shot attempts very quickly and rarely wasting time, something that surely contributed to his decrease in turnovers this season.

      There are some concerns about how Muscala's post game will translate to the pros, as he sports a noticeable size advantage against most of the competition he faced in college, but the style of back-to-the-basket game he plays appears well suited to his physical profile and the type of role he likely projects to in the NBA. Combine this with the high effort level he shows for getting open and the excellent learning curve he's shown, and his post game is probably not something one should rule out so quickly.

      Muscala's perimeter game is less featured than his post offense in the NCAA, but given the pick-and-pop tendencies of the NBA combined, with his 4 straight seasons of 79% or better free-throw shooting, it's not hard to see it becoming a larger staple of his game. Muscala shows good touch and range on his jump-shot, operating comfortably out to just inside the NCAA three-point line, though he's never really developed three-point range. If he works on adding that to his game either in the pre-draft process or once he's in the NBA, it certainly wouldn't hurt his stock.

      Muscala's offensive game doesn't stop there, though, as he's a very well-rounded player, finishing well on cuts, crashing the offensive glass consistently, contributing nicely in the passing game with 2.4 assists per game, and even showing flashes of face-up ability from the perimeter, being able to put the ball on the floor for one or two straight-line dribbles.

      His ability on cuts and offensive rebounds is probably the biggest selling point of Muscala's off-the-ball game, however, as he's very frequently involved and doesn't shy from contact, as evidenced by his impressive 6.9 free-throw attempts per game, which are extra valuable given his superb free-throw shooting percentage. How this will translate to the NBA against bigger and stronger competition, especially if he doesn't make further improvements in the weight room, is yet to be seen however.

      Muscala also made some nice strides on the defensive end this season, as he's developed a strong fundamental base and excellent awareness in his time in college. He plays defense with good focus and a strong motor, rotating well in help-side defense and doing a good job staying in front of his man and contesting shots in the post. How he will deal with the increased physicality of the NBA and if he can translate his defensive prowess to the NBA may be the biggest question mark in Muscala's game, but being a very young senior at still just 21 years old and likely not yet benefitting from a top-tier strength training program, he probably still has plenty of room for growth here as well.

      Looking forward, Muscala has developed into a very intriguing prospect in his four years in college, showing a remarkably steep learning curve along the way. 6'11 players with his level of length and mobility don't grow on trees, and when you add in his perimeter prowess, well-developed post game, defensive abilities, and intangible profile, it makes for an intriguing overall package. The level of competition he faced and his still below average strength are definitely things to be concerned about in terms of how his game will translate, but those are things he should have a decent chance to overcome.

      Muscala's draft stock may have suffered somewhat due to his poor showing in the NCAA tournament against Butler, where he struggled to make many of the makeable looks he was able to create for himself against a very aggressive post-defender in Andrew Smith, going just 4-17 from field.

      Because of the fact that he hasn't faced a great deal of high-level competition (with the exception of one very strong performance against Alex Oriakhi and Missouri) NBA scouts may have some question marks about how his productivity might translate against NBA level size and athleticism.

      That's where Muscala's performance during the pre-draft process will likely be very important, as it will give NBA teams an opportunity to match him up with a plethora of other highly touted center prospects, such as Gorgui Dieng, Jeff Withey, and others. Given the value NBA teams place on skilled big men, it wouldn't be surprising to see Muscala rise up draft boards (perhaps similar to the way Nikola Vucevic did a few years back) if he's able to hold his own in these settings.


      • #4
        Erick Green

        Last time we checked in our Erick Green a little under a year ago, he was coming off a strong junior season that saw him pick up where Malcolm Delaney left off as Virginia Tech's leading scorer. Despite the departure of Head Coach Seth Greenberg and the Hokies' struggles in ACC play (3-12 thus far, last place), Green has been among the most improved players in the country and ranks as the nation's top scorer by a significant margin.

        Standing 6'3 with a thin, wiry frame and near 6'7 wingspan, Green is a natural scorer who can put points on the board in bunches with his pull-up jump shot and ability to get to the free throw line, but has also shown improvement as a distributor this season, particularly in the pick and roll. Fitting the mold of a modern, up-tempo, scoring point guard, the senior's skills have been tested on a nightly basis this season as his team's first option, primary ball-handler, and end-all, be-all solution on the offensive end.

        Green's offensive game is predicated on his ability to make shots from the perimeter. Some 73% of his shots in the half court are jumpers, the large majority of which come off the dribble. Shooting the ball with a quick, high release that is difficult to block because of how high he elevates and how far back he cocks the ball, Green has a knack for creating separation for his shot with his quick first step, sharp crossovers, and hesitation moves. Connecting on 41% of his pull ups, Green is capable of creating his own shot when the shot-clock is running down and hitting difficult, off-balance leaners from the midrange. According to Synergy Sports Technology, as of the time of this report, no prospect in college basketball had hit more off the dribble jumpers (65) than Green has in 27 games thus far.

        He also proves to be an effective spot-up and off screen threat. Having knocked down 40% of his catch and shoot jump shots this season according to Synergy Sports Technology, the Virginia native doesn't get many opportunities to shoot with his feet set due to the amount of defensive attention he receives in the ACC every night, but he's improved his range and consistency dramatically since arriving in Blacksburg. He takes 2 ½ times more pull-ups than spot-ups, though, which makes his relatively strong shooting percentages all the more impressive. It's easier to see his ability to run off screens effectively (42.4% FG%, 1.24 PPP) become more of a weapon on a team with more scoring options for example.

        Green is not as effective when he's creating his own shot slashing to the rim. He is a good ball-handler and is very adept at using ball-screens, but doesn't have the elite explosiveness or strength to regularly generate high percentage shots in one-on-one situations around the basket, or finish through contact in traffic. Shooting an unimpressive 48% around the rim, Green compensates with feathery touch on his floater and by getting to the line more than any other guard in our database per-40 minutes pace-adjusted. There are legitimate questions about whether he'd be able to translate that to the pro level, though, which is something teams will want to take a closer look at in private workout settings.

        As a floor general, Green is at his best as a distributor in transition or on the pick and roll, where his speed, high basketball IQ, elite pull-up jump-shot and aggressive mentality allow him to put constant pressure on the defense. Though he is more comfortable looking for his own shot, and isn't a dynamic playmaker off the bounce, he is quite unselfish and shows good vision and a high basketball IQ running the pick and roll or handling the constant swarm of defenders usually thrown at him. Facing defenses geared towards slowing him every single night, Green's scoring efficiency, and near 2/1 assist-to-turnover ratio are very impressive.

        A capable defender at the college level, Green plays with good intensity and fundamentals, but his lack of size and strength raise some concerns about his ability to defend opposing guards at the next level. He'll likely need to be matched up with opposing point guards to be most effective in the NBA, but may be more comfortable with an additional ball-handler alongside of him offensively, at least early on in his career. This could make his defensive integration into a playoff-bound team slightly more complicated, but considering he'll likely be asked to come off the bench, probably isn't a deal-breaker for him. Nevertheless, there's no question he'll have to add strength and show he can at least hold his own in the NBA defensively if he's to carve out a niche long-term.

        Having one of the best individual seasons of any guard in college basketball, Green will be one of the better senior prospects available in the 2013 draft. He has some limitations as a finisher around the rim and defender, but his productivity as a shooter/scorer and efficiency as a passer will no doubt pique the interest of NBA teams. It's difficult to find too many guards these days who have size, speed, perimeter shooting ability and can operate effectively on the pick and roll, so Green's elite scoring instincts certainly deserve a close look.


        • #5
          We have similar tastes. I also like Green and Muscala. I hope CHI drafts them
          "Happiness is just an illusion, filled with sadness and confusion." Jimmy Ruffin


          • #6
            I'm still gonna bang for my boy Canaan. He'd be perfect if we continue using our 2 PG looks. He's a crazy good shooter that would only be helped out by having Lawson drawing all the attention. He'll be able to consistently knock down 3s when Lawson kicks it out to him.


            • #7
              All 3 of those guys are 2nd round picks. Which we don't have. My money is on reggie bullock. And if we nab a center I'd want Colton Iverson. But those are for biased reasons.


              • #8
                I'd love for us to get Anthony Bennett but he's out of our range.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Atwnbroncfan View Post
                  All 3 of those guys are 2nd round picks. Which we don't have. My money is on reggie bullock. And if we nab a center I'd want Colton Iverson. But those are for biased reasons.
                  All three are fringe first rounders. Late 1st to early 2nd prospects that could potentially go a tad higher than we pick or fall to the middle of the second (unlikely). We have the 27th pick. Just because we have one 1st doesn't mean we won't be trading draft day for anymore. Kosta Koufos and Andre Miller could find themselves on the move.
                  Last edited by Matymaddog; 06-19-2013, 06:04 AM.