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Nuggets trade up for Dayton big man DaRon Holmes II: Get to know the pick

Denver needed a young, athletic big man in the rotation behind superstar center Nikola Jokic. Holmes fits the bill.
Dayton George Mason Basketball
Posted at 9:14 PM, Jun 26, 2024

The Denver Nuggets addressed a position of need in the first round of Wednesday's NBA Draft, trading up to select Dayton center DaRon Holmes II.

Denver moved up six spots in a deal with the Phoenix Suns to grab Holmes, a 6-foot-10 junior, with the No. 22 pick. The Nuggets dealt the Nos. 28 and 56 picks, and a pair of future second-round picks, to Phoenix for Holmes.

Denver needed a young, athletic big man in the rotation behind superstar center Nikola Jokic. Holmes – a bona fide rim protector and improved offensive threat – fits the bill.

He improved as a scorer in each of his three seasons with the Flyers, putting up 20 points per game as a junior after averaging 18 as a sophomore and 13 as a freshman. Holmes added 8.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.1 blocks per contest in 2023-24.

Holmes was named the Atlantic 10 Conference Co-Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year in 2023-24. He also made the conference's All-Defensive team each of his three seasons.

He and Purdue big man Zach Edey – one of college basketball's biggest stars over the past two seasons and the No. 9 pick in Wednesday's draft – were the only players in Division I to record at least 65+ blocks, 65+ dunks, and 65+ assists, according to the Nuggets PR team.

Holmes is a threat at the rim on both ends of the floor, and even developed his shot from 3-point land in his final season, hitting 32 of 83 (38.6%) from deep after attempting just 26 three-pointers across his first two campaigns.

Check out some of his highlights here:

Altitude Sports' Vic Lombardi reported on the social media site X that the Nuggets were "wary" of the possibility that the Minnesota Timberwolves – who ousted the Nuggets from this year's playoffs in an unlikely second-round comeback – could select Holmes with the No. 27 pick, and were thus motivated to find a trade partner to move up.

Dayton earned a No. 7 seed in the 2024 NCAA Tournament and advanced to the Round of 32, where it lost to Arizona.