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Nuggets Draft Emmanuel Mudiay at No. 7

With the seventh overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, the Denver Nuggets have selected Emmanuel Mudiay. This could spell the end of Ty Lawson in Denver, as Lawson has been on the block for some time.

Mudiay is a physical specimen at point guard at 6-5 with strength, quickness and speed reminiscent of John Wall. Mudiay’s speed is elite, and he gets a lot of points in transition where he can use his athleticism in the open floor to finish at the rim.

Questions remain with Mudiay about the level of competition he played overseas in China, and his ability to produce in the half court on offense. Mudiay saw a lot of pick-and-rolls on offense in China, which bodes well for his success in the NBA, but struggled with the physicality in his lone season. Hand-checking won’t be as big problem for Mudiay in the NBA like it was overseas, and he should be able to get to the free throw line in the NBA. However, he must improve on his free throw shooting, as he only shot 57.4 percent in China last season.

Mudiay also needs work at running a half-court offense and playing at different speeds, two things that’ll come as he matures into an NBA player. Mudiay struggled shooting overseas, shooting only 34.2 percent from three in China on 32 attempts. An in-between game will also be crucial for Mudiay in terms of developing into a threat on pick-and-rolls.

Mudiay should slide right in as a starter initially, but will take some time to develop into a reliable starting NBA point guard. Defensively, he shows active hands and anticipation skills (1.6 steals per game in China) to become above average on that end. He’ll need to improve offensively, and that will come in time for the physically gifted lead guard.

NBA comparison: John Wall

2014-15 stats: 18.0 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 5.9 apg, 1.6 spg (47.8 FG%, 34.2 3P% 57.4 FT%)

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