Following two first round selections, the Denver Nuggets traded with the Portland Trail Blazers to get back into the second round to select Ismael Kamagate with the 46th overall pick.
This could essentially solve the Nuggets back up center option as Kamagate is someone who could hopefully come in and contribute as early as next season. Kamagate could either take one of the Nuggets roster spots, Denver could sign him to a two-way contract, or he could potentially be a draft and stash player. Kamagate recorded some pretty solid stats with Paris Basketball last season as he averaged 11.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks per game.
One of Kamagate’s strengths is definitely his shot blocking ability and on the offensive end of the floor he does a lot of his damage in the pick-n-roll. The Nuggets worked out Kamagate last week as they have now drafted two players — Watson as well — who have had public workouts with the Nuggets.
Here is a quick tidbit on Kamagate courtesy of our scouting report here at Denver Stiffs:
“Ismael Kamagate is a 6 foot 11 inches tall big man, and one of the more highly regarded international prospects in this draft class. He played for Paris Basketball in the LNB Pro A league for this past season. There he impressed enough people with his defensive instincts and shot blocking to be heralded as a draft prospect. He is currently mocked anywhere from the late first to the mid-second round, and is someone who meets a positional need for a backup center.
He doesn’t provide what Demarcus Cousins did this past season for the Nuggets — a post up big with playmaking chops, but significant gaps in mobility and vertical athleticism. He would instead provide an athletic roll man to Denver’s guards on one end of the floor and excellent shot blocking to help make up for Denver’s lack of paint defense on the other. You could make the argument that someone like that could be better than a more conventional back to the basket center for the nuggets. Having personnel on the roster that could provide a different look than Nikola Jokic, and someone who could potentially play next to him against bigger lineups is an appealing idea.
The real question comes in the form of whether or not Denver should spend a draft pick on a backup center at pick 21. To me it is an interesting question, because while there are bigger needs on the roster, they’re needs that the team may feel more comfortable addressing with veterans. Whether in the form of free agency or trades, there are avenues the front office could take to determine the course they want to go down. Backup center may be something they want to address in the draft, because it’s a lower risk need than having a rookie try and sure up the perimeter defense right away.”
Read up more on Kamagate with his whole draft profile here. Welcome to Denver, Ismael Kamagate!