With the Nuggets trading JaMychal Green to the Oklahoma City Thunder, they are now in possession of the final pick in the 1st round of the draft. Keeping with the theme of the Nuggets’ earlier pick, I’m looking for players with two-way upside that fit well and would benefit in the league playing next to Nikola Jokic.
With their 21st pick, the Nuggets went a bit of a safer route with MarJon Beauchamp, and I think they could afford to take a slightly bigger swing with their second pick if they elect to keep it. In this case, that swing is Michigan State’s Max Christie.
Christie had lottery aspirations for some coming into the year, and while I was never quite there with him, it became increasingly obvious how much professional appeal he has, and I think he has a chance to be a top 25 player in his class.
He was touted as one of the better shooting prospects coming into the college basketball season, and even though he had a poor shooting season, the form on his jump shot is nearly aesthetically perfect. While I won’t expect him to create his own shot early in his career, having Jokic feed him the rock will ideally help him return to his highly-touted shooting prowess.
Christie bought into his role with Michigan State, meaning that he was frequently given challenging defensive assignments. In the league, while he clearly has some defensive upside with his length, I think he’ll initially be given more opportunities on offense—particularly as a spot-up shooter—and a bit less responsibility of defense. If he can build on his frame and find his shooting stroke again, he’ll go much higher in a re-draft.