Nuggets Insider: Why Keita Bates-Diop provides best value among trade additions

It’s hard to blame the lukewarm reaction of Nuggets fans to the four-team trade that brought four new faces to the locker room. Denver’s haul doesn’t inspire a deep playoff push or provide that so-called missing piece that opens a path to the championship.

A buzzkill, really.

The countdown to the NBA trade deadline on Friday is still ticking, but barring a surprise twist, Pelicans star Jrue Holliday isn’t busting into Pepsi Center anytime soon. So, beyond a 2020 first-round pick and unloading the expiring contracts of Juancho Hernangomez, what did Denver really gain from all this?

An early analysis of the Nuggets newcomers for the player most likely to make an immediate impact results in a clear frontrunner: Minnesota Timberwolves forward Keita Bates-Diop.

An unfortunate injury bug has crawled into Denver’s frontcourt with big men Paul Millsap (knee) and Mason Plumlee (foot) on the mend, plus wing Michael Porter Jr. day-to-day with an ankle issue. The Nuggets need help. Bates-Diop’s resume suggests he’ll fill in nicely.

The 2018 second-round NBA draft pick isn’t a flashy addition, but he’s shooting 33% behind the arc this year — better than Gary Harris and Jamal Murray. And Bates-Diop’s length at 6-foot-8 and 229 pounds gives Denver a rangy defender capable of absorbing minutes without Millsap and Plumlee on the floor. Bates-Diop might be a second-year pro, but he appeared in 109 career games over four college seasons at Ohio State. He has played against elite competition on big-time stages. His biggest opportunity is now.

Call it a glass-half-full take if you’d like (and you might be correct), but the development of Bates-Diop could be a surprise silver lining in Denver’s roster shuffle. Stay tuned to find out.

Kyle Fredrickson, The Denver Post

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Saturday: At Phoenix Suns, 7 p.m., ALT

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AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post

Nikola Jokic (15) of the Denver Nuggets, Gary Harris (14) and Jamal Murray (27) react to their play against the Atlanta Hawks during the fourth quarter of Atlanta’s 125-121 win on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019.

Keeler: Nikola Jokic, Nuggets deserve more at NBA trade deadline

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Nicole Sweet, The Associated Press

Denver Nuggets guard Malik Beasley (25) puts up a shot against Brooklyn Nets center Deandre Jordan (6) during the first half of an NBA basketball game on Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in New York.

Analysis: Why the Nuggets jumped into Tuesday’s four-team blockbuster trade

In the dizzying hours following Tuesday night’s four-team mega trade, which sent Malik Beasley, Juancho Hernangomez and Jarred Vanderbilt of the Nuggets to Minnesota, in exchange for Houston’s first-round pick and a handful of Timberwolves role players, it was impossible not to consider what else Denver had planned. Read more…

The Associated Press

Jerami Grant and Paul Millsap.

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Quick Hits

+ Nuggets seize incredible win from the Jazz

+ Meet the new Nuggets: Keita Bates-Diop, Gerald Green, Shabazz Napier and Noah Vonleh added in four-team trade

+ Nuggets Journal: Michael Porter Jr. says playoffs “worth a lot more” than Rising Stars snub

+ Nuggets takeaways: Michael Porter Jr. gets ankle scare, Denver touts “no excuse” culture

+ Keeler: Kobe Bryant leaves behind complicated legacy in Colorado, where he was the best of enemies

+ Keeler: Ex-Nuggets coach George Karl on Kobe Bryant’s 1998 All-Star benching, and why he became a Black Mamba fan

+ Nuggets’ Michael Porter Jr. left off Rising Stars challenge roster at All-Star weekend

+ Nuggets earn most impressive win of the season, stun Bucks on back-to-back

+ Nuggets Mailbag: Have a question about the team? Ask Mike Singer here.

By The Numbers


Nuggets center Nikola Jokic named NBA All-Star for second straight season

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Parting Shot

Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant (24) during the first half of game five in their NBA playoff game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Tuesday, May 8, 2012.

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Denver Post sports columnist Mark Kiszla and Nuggets beat writer Mike Singer ponder the legacy of the late Kobe Bryant. Read more…

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