So you’re telling me there’s a chance

Messing around on my computer after I got home from work on Tuesday, I did the usual “Start randomly clicking on things and an hour later you’re pensively browsing the Greater Roadrunner entree on Wikipedia” routine, when in the process I ended up at ESPN’s 2014 Lottery Mock Draft generator — which is not a very productive place to find yourself if your favorite NBA team is in the lottery. At first I hit the “Play Lottery” button as a way to see all the different scenarios in which teams like the Lakers, Pistons and Bucks could maneuver in the top half of the lottery. And then I realized something. I realized the Nuggets actually have a chance of moving up into one of the top three spots on draft night. And although it’s a long shot –  a very long shot — the possibility alone intrigued me enough to write 800 words about the subject, which is 800 more words than I was planning on writing this evening.

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Dearth of financial flexibility and open roster spots may result in a quiet Nuggets offseason

Although chaos ruled last summer’s Nuggets offseason, this year it may be defined by calm.

Going into the 2014 offseason, the Nuggets have a roster likely to remain loaded up at or near the 15-player maximum. Of their current 15 contracted players, only two are expiring – Jan Vesely and Aaron Brooks. Another two, Darrell Arthur and Nate Robinson, have player options but have both expressed interest in staying with the Nuggets. And Denver will surely hang onto the only remaining player whose 2014-15 salary is not guaranteed. The coaching staff and front office have highly praised Quincy Miller’s progress this season, and will be looking to continue his development.

So if the Nuggets let Vesely and Brooks walk, they will be entering the offseason with only two open roster spots. (more…)

Winning vs. tanking? Pretty much a moot point now

The Denver Nuggets have the most difficult remaining schedule in the NBA, and arguably the most injury-devastated roster to boot. Taken together, these two tough realities suggest that it will be very difficult for the Nuggets to win many of their remaining games.

But while proponents of tanking might take heart in this likelihood of losing, at the end of the day it almost certainly will hardly matter either way. As has been the case for months, Denver’s best chance for a high draft pick remains with the (increasiningly unlikely) hope that the Knicks will crash and burn down the stretch. And even if the Nuggets lose out, they probably won’t move up more than a single spot in the draft. (more…)

Repercussions of moving in different directions

A few nights ago I was watching college basketball. This year’s impressive crop of college freshman were on display, all turning in big performances. One of those players was Jabari Parker. My goodness, Jabari Parker. I’ve been watching college basketball with an eye focused on scouting for three to four years now, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a player dominate the way he has right from the start. And the crazy thing? Jabari Parker isn’t even ranked as the top prospect on the few scouting websites I trust most — which kinda got me thinking about the Nuggets, as I often do in life when I start thinking deeply about anything. I pondered the Nuggets draft situation this upcoming year, the fact the Nuggets have only one pick instead of two — which they originally had but changed when they sent one of those picks to Orlando in the Arron Afflalo trade — and how the Nuggets lost a lot more than just Andre Iguodala when he left this past summer. But what I thought about most, what I kept coming back to, was that…

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5-on-5: Draft night effects and beyond

On June 27, Nuggets fans got their first up-close glimpse of how the Nuggets’ front office would operate with Tim Connelly at the helm. Like past drafts, the Nuggets were active. They traded down from the 27th pick to ultimately select Erick Green and sent last year’s starting center to Memphis for a package that included stretch-four, Darrell Arthur. In the end it was a busy night with implications that could be felt for years, which is exactly what we hope break down in our latest 5-0n-5. As always, we encourage you to play along by answering the questions we posed to our writers in the comments section below.

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Rapid Reaction: 2013 NBA Draft

The 2013 NBA Draft is officially in the books. After months of disheartening analysis regarding its lack of superstars, the draft took a turn for the wild early on and never reverted back to the uneventful night many had anticipated. The Nuggets were active, trading last year’s starting center Kosta Koufos to the Memphis Grizzlies for Darrell Arthur. Additionally, Denver traded out of the 27th pick to ultimately possess the 46th and 55th picks instead. Here’s what the Nuggets’ draft puzzle looked like at the end of the night…

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[UPDATE] BREAKING: Nuggets select Erick Green at 46, Lauvergne at 55

More analysis to come but for those who are unaware of Green’s game, see the video below. He led the nation in scoring last year, won ACC Player of the Year and is generally seen as an excellent selection (perhaps even a steal) at 46. This is now the second year in a row that the Nuggets have selected a shooting guard who worked out for them prior to the draft.

[UPDATE] The Nuggets have also selected Joffrey Lauvergne with the 55th pick in the draft. He is a french big man known for his high motor and athleticism. Here is his profile on DraftExpress.

[UPDATE] Nuggets trade Rudy Gobert to Utah for 46th pick and cash; trade Koufos for Arthur?

According to The Denver Post’s Benjamin Hochman, the Nuggets will trade Rudy Gobert to Utah for the 46th pick in the draft and cash. More analysis to come!

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UPDATE: According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the Nuggets are also working on trading Kosta Koufos to the Memphis Grizzlies for Darrell Arthur and the 55th pick in the draft.

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Digging for gold in the 2013 NBA draft

As many of you already know, writing about the NBA draft is one my favorite aspects of covering the Nuggets. And I’m not just a casual fan who watches YouTube clips on a handful of players slated to drop in the Nuggets’ range come June. I really do love the draft. Throughout the entire season I’m listening to podcasts, watching real games (imagine that!) and exercising my free ESPN INsider account to read every single bit of news and information Chad Ford posts about each year’s draft class. I don’t know why, but I’m nearly obsessed with the process. This year I haven’t had time to go as in depth as I would have liked due to the constant barrage of hirings and firings that have taken place within the Nuggets organization over the last month, but I’ll try and get you as up to date as I can on the guys I like.

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Nuggets news from Day 1 at the NBA Draft Combine

For NBA Draft junkies like me, the annual Draft Combine is the commencement of a nonstop obsession for about a month each summer. Although the Combine doesn’t present the ideal opportunity for scouting, there are still an assortment of minor details revealed about teams, players and the intentions of both that can prove invaluable during pre-draft analysis. Here is what I learned regarding the Nuggets from the first day of the Combine.

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Is Masai Ujiri eying a Greek freak in the draft?

Last week Chris Sheridan broke the news that Nuggets general manager Masai Ujiri had recently made a trip overseas to scout one of the most intriguing prospects in this year’s draft. His name is Giannis Adetokunbo. He’s 6-9. He’s freakishly athletic. And he regularly plays point guard for his team in Greece. Did I mention he’s a 6-9 freak who regularly plays point guard?

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