The Denver Nuggets may have made the best value pick of the draft in Gary Harris at 19th overall with a selection they acquired from an earlier trade with the Chicago Bulls.
I’m not someone who gives grades, but if I did, this selection would rank extraordinarily high. I actually mocked Harris to the Nuggets at 11th overall, so for them to be able to move down, get Nurkic at 16 and then somehow have Harris slide to them at 19 is just incredible value. This ended up being an absolutely perfect trade for both teams in my opinion.
Harris is not a terribly dissimilar prospect talent-wise to Bradley Beal, in my opinion. They’re both slightly undersized in the 6’3-4 range. Both are best when coming around screens or coming up from the baseline on pin-downs. Then finally, both have pretty solid secondary ball-handling skills that allow them to help caretake for an offense whenever the starting point guard is sitting.
Where Harris separates himself from most guards though is on the defensive end. His defensive intensity is off the charts, and he has the lateral quickness to stay in front of just about any 1 or 2 guard. For a 19-year-old to show that kind of willingness, awareness, and skill on that end is not a typical occurrence. Harris will at worst be a solid “3 and D” player that can defend either guard position and run off of screens to get open for shots to create space for others.
His fit is a bit curious now though that the Nuggets have re-acquired Arron Afflalo. My guess on this pick is that they had already scouted him, fallen in love with him, and just decided to pull the trigger whenever they were shocked he was sitting there at 19. Denver also already has Randy Foye on the roster, who is quite redundant to Harris on the offensive end. Given that Foye still has two years left on his deal, this might be a pick that doesn’t pay dividends for a couple of years. Or they could potentially use Foye as trade bait at this point and replace him with the lesser-paid Harris.
Just because I love Harris and think Denver ended up getting slightly better value on their picks doesn’t mean that I think the Bulls did poorly here. McDermott is an awesome fit in Chicago if they don’t acquire Kevin Love or Carmelo Anthony, and should help them actually have a modicum of efficiency on offense. But the Nuggets also did an awesome job here, getting two prospects they could have easily taken for the price of one at 11.