NBA Draft Trade Rumors: Why Denver Nuggets Must Trade Up in 1st Round

Alex CrawfordContributor IIIJune 28, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 10:  Bradley Beal #23 of the Florida Gators drives against Marquis Teague #25 of the Kentucky Wildcats in the second half during the semifinals of the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament at New Orleans Arena on March 10, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The Denver Nuggets have been a good team the last couple of seasons, but they haven’t been a great team.  They’ve made it to the postseason every year since 2003, but they’ve only made it out of the first round once during that time span.   

Right now, the Denver Nuggets are teetering on the edge of being very good.  They scored the most points per game and had the most assists per game out of any team in the league last season.  What they need is a player to push them over the edge and to the next level, and that player is Bradley Beal. 

Beal, a 6’ 5” guard from the University of Florida, won’t make it past the first three picks.  With Denver sitting at the No. 20 pick in the draft, their only hope is to trade up, and rumors say that is a likely possibility. 

According to ESPN’s Andy Katz, the Nuggets told Beal that they are looking for ways to move up in the draft to get him. 

If the Nuggets wanted to be certain that they would get Beal, they would have to trade with the Charlotte Bobcats for the No. 2 pick.  Even though they need help at literally every position on the floor, the Bobcats probably won’t pick Beal. That guarantees that either Washington picks him up with the No. 3 pick or Cleveland trades up to get him (a likely scenario). 

The biggest asset the Nuggets would have to give up to get Beal is Aaron Afflalo.  While Afflalo had a career year last season, he is worth giving up to get Beal. The Nuggets would also probably have to deal Wilson Chandler and find a way to get rid of Tyrus Thomas, but those are not big losses. 

Beal is the full package. He’s a fearless shooter who has drawn comparisons to Ray Allen and Eric Gordon, and he is athletic enough to run the floor with Ty Lawson and Kenneth Faried.  He would be an ideal fit for the Nuggets. 

Potential is always the No. 1 buzzword this time of year, and Bradley Beal certainly has that. He is coming into the league at only 19 years old after averaging 14.8 points and 6.7 rebounds per game for the Gators last season.  His upside is amazing (somewhere Chad Ford is salivating over my use of these NBA draft buzzwords). 

A big, athletic guard who can shoot and play lock down defense? George Karl would kill to have Bradley on his team, and that’s exactly what he must do—pull the trigger.  The Nuggets have been a good team for long enough. It’s time for Denver to make a bold move towards being a great team. 

Yes, I will add the disclaimer that moving up and grabbing Beal at the No. 2 spot does not guarantee that the Nuggets will become a playoff caliber team.  If they stay put at No. 20, they might be just fine and end up grabbing the steal of the draft.Or, they might end up watching Beal be a key component to a championship team and wonder, what if? 

Trading up to get Beal is a risk, but it is a risk worth taking.