A year ago, some believed Jarred Vanderbilt could be a lottery pick this year. Six months ago, nobody thought the NBA would be an option after this season. Even a month ago, many doubted whether or not he would be drafted at all.
In addition to the Magic being an unfortunate organization, Vanderbilt landing with the Nuggets is a great thing for him. Here are a few reason why.
A trio of Wildcats
Denver becomes yet another NBA franchise to employ more than two Kentucky Wildcats. Vanderbilt will join Trey Lyles and rising superstar Jamal Murray with the Nuggets this season. The Sacramento Kings, Phoenix Suns, New Orleans Pelicans, and the Charlotte Hornets (for about 20 minutes last night) have been other teams to carry that mantle.
Jamal Murray seems to get better with every game and was third on the team in scoring behind Nikola Jokic and Gary Harris. He could very well lead the team offensively this year as a third year player.
Jokic is 23 years old, Murray is 21, and Lyles and Emmanuel Mudiay are both just 22. Also consider the fact that the Nuggets picked up Michael Porter in the first round, who at one point was expected to be the No. 1 overall pick.
This team could very well be in position to compete in the West in the next five years if they stay together, and the skills sets of each of these guys seem to complement each other well.
A need for his strengths
Besides Jokic, nobody on the Nuggets averaged more than 6.5 rebounds per game. Paul Milsap is proving to be a disappointment considering what Denver is paying him, and they desperately need a complement to Jokic in the paint.
Vanderbilt’s ability to guard five positions and dominate the glass would be a welcome skill set in Denver. And thanks to Jokic’s scoring ability and Murray getting buckets on the perimeter, there would be no pressure on Vanderbilt to score.
The Nuggets need a Dennis Rodman-type player, and Jarred Vanderbilt is as close as it gets in 2018...when he’s healthy.
Time to heal
In the Western Conference in 2018, very few teams have aspirations of beating the Golden State Warriors. Denver is not on that list.
The Nuggets are building for a run in 2022 or 2023, and there is no expectation for Vanderbilt to contribute immediately. He and Porter were drafted with the idea that they could need time to heal and that, eventually, when everyone is healthy, this team will be ready to compete for a championship.
There is never really a perfect situation to be drafted into, but Jarred Vanderbilt going to the Denver Nuggets is pretty darn close.