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Nuggets hoping to strike gold in NBA draft

Denver enters the 2022 NBA draft on Thursday with two first-round picks.

DENVER — The Nuggets found success in the 2021 NBA draft when they took talented rookie Bones Highland out of Virginia Commonwealth University. He made the league’s All-Rookie second team.

But the question is: Can they find a talented impact player again?

It will be the first time new President of Basketball Operations Calvin Booth gets to make the final decision on what to do.

"It’s a big responsibility that I’m looking forward to," said Booth, who takes over for Tim Connelly, who left in May for the same position with the Timberwolves. "Sometimes you like somebody and maybe the final decision maker goes the other way so it’s pretty cool to be able to make the call."

The Nuggets hosted five pre-draft workouts. So what was head coach Michael Malone searching for while watching?

"I’m looking for intangibles. I’m looking for how competitive he is," Malone said. "Is he vocal? Does he fight? Does he have a basketball IQ?"

RELATED: The Ultimate NBA Mock Draft for 2022: who will your team pick?

Credit: AP
Colorado State guard David Roddy (21) looks to pass over Michigan forward Moussa Diabate, right, during the second half of a college basketball game in the first round of the NCAA tournament in Indianapolis, Thursday, March 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Denver could draft Colorado State star David Roddy, who got the chance to work out for the team at one of their pre-draft workouts.

"Man, if I end up here it’d be an amazing blessing," Roddy said. "A thousand other guys would kill to be in my position so understanding that and taking it day by day and getting better as much as possible and embracing your role is very important."

The CU Buffaloes may hear their leading scorer Jabari Walker’s name called in the draft as well. He recently worked out for the Lakers and he says the preparation for the draft process has been grueling.

"You really can’t prepare for it. You can work out as much as you want but that’s just a fraction of it. It’s a mental grind really," Walker said. "Just work and you’ll get what you deserve in the long run."

The NBA Draft will start at 5:30 p.m. (MT) on Thursday from Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

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