NUGGETS: Tal­ented teenager Dzanan Musa works out in Denver, ex­pects to be NBA lottery pick.

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Gina Mizell Gina Mizell: gmizell@den­ver­ or @gi­namizell

Dzanan Musa is widely pro­jected as a first-round draft selec­tion.

But the 19-year-old Bos­nian has even higher ex­pec­ta­tions about where he will be taken next Thurs­day night. Or at least on where he be­lieves he should be taken.

“I think I’m a lottery pick, for sure,” Musa said af­ter his Wed­nes­day work­out with the Nuggets, who hold the fi­nal lottery selec­tion at No. 14. He added: “But the play­ers here (in the United States) are more ex­posed than we (Euro­peans) are. I think we can show one year, two years from now where we be­long.”

Con­fi­dence ex­uded from Musa in his short meet­ing with the Denver me­dia. At 6-foot-8, 190 pounds, he called him­self a point guard with the abil­ity to de­fend all three perime­ter po­si­tions. And he cred­its play­ing pro­fes­sion­ally since he was 16 — he av­er­aged 12.4 points, 3.5 re­bounds and 1.9 as­sists per game last sea­son for Cede­vita of the Adri­atic, EuroCup and Croa­t­ian Leagues — with fos­ter­ing his readi­ness to make the jump to the NBA.

“You play against these leg­ends in Europe,” Musa said. “You don’t score, 20, 30 40 (points) on them. These guys here (in Amer­ica). … They play with the peo­ple their ages. It’s a lot eas­ier for them. I don’t say they’re bad play­ers; they’re good play­ers.”

Musa ded­i­cated his life to bas­ket­ball at an early age. When he was 11, he moved five hours away from his small home­town to train at a bas­ket­ball academy in Sara­jevo, the cap­i­tal and largest city in Bos­nia and Herze­gov­ina. He re­called the tears he shed dur­ing his first three or four months away, “at night, es­pe­cially, be­cause you feel alone.” But the ex­pe­ri­ence made him men­tally stronger.

“I know how to man­age my­self,” Musa said. “Es­pe­cially when you’re from a small town, as I am, and you go in the main city, you have peo­ple look­ing at you like you’re noth­ing. You have to fight through that, so I fight. I fight all the time.”

Tak­ing pride in de­fense.

The other prospect in Denver on Wed­nes­day whom the Nuggets could con­sider tak­ing at No. 14 was Robert Williams, an ath­letic-yet-raw big man from Texas A&M.

Williams, who par­tic­i­pated in a pri­vate work­out at the Pepsi Cen­ter, is the two-time SEC de­fen­sive player of the year and av­er­aged 9.2 re­bounds and 2.5 blocks per game dur­ing the Ag­gies’ Sweet 16 run as a sopho­more this past sea­son. When asked if he has a fa­vorite swat through­out his career, Williams could not re­call one be­cause “there’s so many of them.”

“It’s just some­thing I take pride in,” Williams said. “I love de­fense first. I love re­bound­ing. I feel like that’s my job. I just al­ways liked block­ing shots more than a dunk.”

Dal­ton pumped up.

Hay­den Dal­ton re­called watch­ing in awe as J.R. Smith ripped off a 360 dunk dur­ing the first Nuggets game he at­tended as a child.

But now Dal­ton, a prod­uct of Cha­parral High School in Parker, has an even bet­ter Pepsi Cen­ter mem­ory. Fol­low­ing his col­lege career at Wy­oming, Dal­ton was part of the Nuggets’ pre-draft work­out Wed­nes­day.

“It makes the fam­ily re­ally proud,” Dal­ton said. “It’s un­be­liev­able just to see how far I’ve come and to know that I be­long here.”

The 6-foot-8, 195-pound Dal­ton av­er­aged 17.7 points, 7.9 re­bounds and 2.6 as­sists last sea­son at Wy­oming.

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