PAT GRAHAM, AP Sports Writer
DENVER (AP) — The Denver Nuggets parlayed a draft-day trade with Chicago into a Bosnian big man that very few knew about until Thursday and a shooting guard they long coveted.
After taking Creighton forward Doug McDermott at No. 11, Denver quickly traded his drafts rights — along with Nuggets forward Anthony Randolph — to the Bulls for the opportunity to pick up center Jusuf Nurkic (16th overall) and Michigan State guard Gary Harris (19th). The Nuggets also receive a 2015 second-round pick in the deal.
The 19-year-old Nurkic is relatively new to basketball, not even picking up the game until he was 14. He’s been a quick study, though, averaging around 11.2 points, six rebounds and 1.3 blocks this season for Cedevita Zagreb in the Croatian League.
Harris was high on the Nuggets’ list and rather surprisingly slipped to No. 19. He averaged 16.7 points and 2.7 assists last season for the Spartans.
The arrival of Harris, though, creates a log jam at shooting guard, especially considering the Nuggets reacquired Arron Afflalo earlier in the day in a deal with Orlando for guard Evan Fournier and the No. 56 pick in the draft.
Denver also has the No. 41 pick.
Afflalo was a valuable asset when he was with the Nuggets, partly because of his shooting touch but more for his stifling defense. Afflalo wore the powder blue and gold for three season before being traded to Orlando on Aug. 10, 2012, as part of the blockbuster four-team, 12-player deal that also involved Dwight Howard.
The 28-year-old Afflalo averaged a career-high 18.2 points for the Magic last season. He will be reunited in the backcourt with speedy point guard Ty Lawson as they try to restore the luster to the Nuggets.
Denver finished 36-46 in Brian Shaw’s first season in charge and missed the postseason for the first time since 2002-03. The team was ravaged by injuries, with Danilo Gallinari missing all season as the versatile forward recovered from his ACL injury. JaVale McGee (leg) played only a handful of games, while J.J. Hickson and Nate Robinson tore ACLs. Wilson Chandler, Lawson and Randolph also were in and out of the lineup.
AP Sports Writer Andrew Seligman in Chicago contributed.
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