After selecting Kentucky one-and-done guard Jamal Murray at No. 7, the Denver Nuggets added some more shooting with their pair of mid-first-round selections in Thursday’s NBA Draft.
The Nuggets took 6-foot-9 Spanish big man Juan Hernangomez with the No. 15 pick and then followed that up by selecting Florida State’s Malik Beasley at 19.
Hernangomez is 20 years old and spent last year playing in the highly competitive Spanish ACB. He is a capable shooter — he knocked down 35 percent of his 3’s last season — who projects as a stretch power forward.
“He’s a very difficult guy to find right now,” Nuggets general manager Tim Connelly said. “Those 6-9, 6-10 guys who can defend stretch 4’s, who can switch off a 4-3 pick and roll, can make a shot and rebound.”
Connelly added that the team has yet to decide whether Hernangomez will play this season in Denver or stay in Europe to develop.
Beasley, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard, is a one-and-done player out of Florida State. He converted 38.7 percent of his 3’s last season on his way to averaging 15.6 points per game.
“We thought Malik just had too much talent to pass up,” Connelly said. “… We felt comfortable with him – elite athlete, shot maker, again a live-in-the-gym guy. We were shocked he was there at 19.”
Together, the three first-round picks represent Denver’s desire to improve its outside shooting. The Nuggets were among the worst 3-point shooting teams last season, converting deep balls at a 33.8 percent rate.
“Our shooting was a big concern,” Connelly said. “When you look at the skill set of some of the guys we got this evening, it helps us in a positive manner.”
This trio of first rounders will join an already promising young core of Emmanuel Mudiay, Nikola Jokic, Jusuf Nurkic, Gary Harris and Will Barton.