Link: 1320 KFAN Media Mock Draft interview

Over the last two weeks 1320 AM KFAN in Salt Lake City has held a media mock draft where bloggers and journalists have come together to chat about the NBA Draft, in addition to selecting a player for the specific teams they cover in the lottery. KFAN was kind enough to invite me on for an audio interview this afternoon, which you can find here (scroll to the bottom) along with all the other interviews and picks from respective NBA writers around the country. (Spoiler alert: I did not get a chance to select Andrew Wiggins, unfortunately.)

Prospecting: Point guards with potential

One thing I’ve learned after years of following the NBA Draft is that as selection day approaches it’s always wise to prepare for the unexpected. Though the Nuggets have what appears to be a franchise point guard in Ty Lawson, selecting another point guard in the first round should obviously not be ruled out if the team sticks ardently to the Best Player Available strategy whenever their pick(s) arise. In fact, nabbing a floor general in the first 20 picks might just be the best decision Tim Connelly makes in his first full year as general manager, as there are several highly undervalued point guards — each with one elite skill — slated to be available within that range, which I analyze below in RMC’s latest Prospecting installment.

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Rumor: Nuggets talking swap with Bulls

According to ESPN.com’s Chad Ford, the Denver Nuggets and Chicago Bulls have engaged in trade talks centered around each team’s respective first-round draft picks. Per Ford:

Sources say the Nuggets have had serious discussions with the Bulls about swapping No. 11 for Nos. 16 and 19. If the Bulls get this pick, they’ll grab either Harris or Stauskas here. If the Nuggets keep their pick, look for them to focus on their back court. Ty Lawson is the only real foundation piece they have. Nik Stauskas and a host of other wings are all possibilities here but the word is that Harris was a wow for them in workouts. Now that he’s fully healthy and explosive again (Harris measured a 40-inch max vertical in his Lakers workout) he’s another guy who could start rising.

It’s interesting to hear the Nuggets engaged in talks to receive more players than their jettisoning, as Denver already has a near full roster. But perhaps this is only an initial move to set up a larger one down the road? Could it be Denver has plans to make a fairly big splash in free agency? Please leave your thoughts and musings on this potential trade and its resulting repercussions below.

Prospecting: In search of a shooting star

As many fans are well aware by now, there are four excellent shooting guard prospects in the upcoming draft slated to be available with the Nuggets’ first overall selection: Gary Harris, Nik Stauskas, Zach LaVine and James Young. While personal preference dictates where exactly these players will fall on draft night, the virtual consensus amongst the Web’s most revered mock analysts is that all four are likely to fall in the top 20. So while the Nuggets should (and likely will) implement the Best Player Available (BPA) strategy, there stands a legitimate chance that one of the aforementioned names will be called to the stage when Adam Silver announces the 11th pick — not because the Nuggets need a starting-caliber shooting guard, but because these players are all more than deserving of that selection. Naturally, understanding which of these players would make the best pick is of critical importance; which, as you might have guessed, is exactly what I’ll attempt below.

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Link: Nuggets’ trade calls about draft pick heating up

If you’re a draftnik like me, nothing gets your blood flowing like trade rumors. Hearing them straight from the horse’s mouth (the horse, in this scenario, being Nuggets’ GM Tim Connelly) around this time of year will basically turn your veins into full-powered fire hoses. Therefore, if you too would like fire-hose veins, I’d recommend reading the following article by The Denver Post‘s Christopher Dempsey which at one point states, Trading the selection for a veteran and moving up in the draft are the two areas of most interest to the Nuggets.”

Denver Nuggets draft plan

It’s been a long time since we’ve covered the NBA Draft extensively here at Roundball Mining Company. Two years, in fact. (Last year we published almost nothing but rumors and breaking news regarding the front-office overhaul that took place leading up to the 2013 Draft.) So I have to say, it feels good writing about one of my favorite hobbies again. Really good. And on top of my already sunny disposition due to simply writing about the draft is the ongoing realization that for the first time in over a decade the Nuggets have a pick in the lottery. For draft-obsessed, wannabe GMs like me, life really doesn’t get any better.

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Roundball Roundtable: One fan’s offseason wish list

Every now and then Roundball Mining Company receives a fan e-mail worthy of more than just a quick read and response. Last week such a letter was sent our way from avid RMC reader and loyal Nuggets fan, Joe Karlik. In his message (presented below in italics) Joe outlined three main moves he felt the Nuggets needed to make this summer to put themselves in a position of success this upcoming season. Joe kindly asked for our thoughts on these issues, to which we’ve obliged his request in the form of our latest Roundball Roundtable. As always, feel free to leave your thoughts on the following subjects in the comments section below.

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Link: Mulling Nuggets’ options in June draft

This past week after the Nuggets were granted no mercy by the “Basketball Gods” and failed to move up in the NBA Draft Lottery (as George Karl might deduce), I joined a distinguished panel of Nuggets writers — including fellow Roundball Mining Company contributor, Jordan White — to weigh in on the upcoming draft for The Denver Post. With the 2014 NBA Draft exactly one month from Memorial Day, RMC’s coverage of “All Things Draft Related” will soon kick into high gear. Though more detailed player analysis will follow, this article should serve as a comprehensive beginner’s guide for those wishing to get acclimated with all the Nuggets’ options come June 26. As always, feel free to leave your comments, thoughts and suggestions below.

BREAKING: Nuggets have no luck, remain at 11

In a development that shouldn’t surprise anyone, the Nuggets did not move up into the top three on draft night. Instead, the Cleveland Cavaliers landed the top pick for the third time in the last four years despite having only a 1.7 percent chance of winning the lottery. If you want to look at the glass half empty (as I surely do right now) Denver had a 1.5 percent chance of winning the lottery between the 11th and 12th picks and not only failed to move up, but also lost the 12th pick to the Orlando Magic as part of the Andre Iguodala trade which really isn’t working out well for the Nuggets at the moment.

Please leave your thoughts and comments on this unfortunate (but highly predictable) night below.

 

Grading Tim Connelly’s first year as Denver Nuggets General Manager

On June 17 last year, the Nuggets announced that Tim Connelly had been tapped to take the helm of Denver’s front office. In the month preceding his hiring, owner Josh Kroenke had overseen a turbulent start to Denver’s offseason, and Connelly joined a Nuggets organization reckoning with the startling departure of Masai Ujiri for Toronto and the firing of Coach of the Year George Karl. Exacerbating the chaotic atmosphere, Andre Iguodala – who the Nuggets clearly had expected to return – opted out to become an unrestricted free agent just eleven days after Connelly’s arrival, and it quickly became clear that he did not intend to re-sign with Denver.

From day one, Connelly’s rookie year as general manager has been a trial by fire, albeit a fire he enthusiastically jumped into.

To many, including a fair share of the writers here at Roundball Mining Company, it seemed unrealistic that the Nuggets would be able to replicate (let alone surpass) the previous season’s success (more…)

Nuggets News: Jackson eyeing Shaw, Nuggets eyeing PGs?

According to ESPN.com, New York Knicks president Phil Jackson might turn his efforts towards prying Brian Shaw from the Denver Nuggets after missing out on Steve Kerr, who reached an agreement with the Golden State Warriors on May 15. Per ESPN:

Sources close to the process told ESPN.com that the most likely scenario, even after Jackson was snubbed by the only candidate he has considered for the position since taking the Knicks’ job in March, remains hiring a younger coach Jackson has worked with previously and can mentor…

Sources said Jackson also intends to explore whether the Denver Nuggets are in any way amenable to releasing Brian Shaw from his contract in exchange for some form of compensation. Shaw is a longtime Jackson favorite who, after missing out on numerous head-coaching jobs, just completed his first season with the Nuggets, posting a 36-46 record despite numerous injuries to front-line players.

But Shaw told the Denver Post on Thursday: “I’m not interested in doing anything other than what I’m doing right now.”

Had Shaw not taken Denver’s job last summer, sources say he would have been at the top of Jackson’s list with Kerr — and conceivably above Kerr — for the Knicks’ opening.

Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post has reiterated multiple times through direct quotes that Shaw is not interested in coaching a team other than the Denver Nuggets at the moment. Of course, quotes are just quotes. It’s actions that count in the NBA, and until Jackson has concluded his search and Brian Shaw remains a Denver Nugget, this situation is worth monitoring.

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3-on-3: Early NBA Draft forcast

With the NBA Draft Combine scheduled to kick off this week, the Draft Lottery taking place the following week and individual workouts to commence shortly thereafter, the time to talk 2014 NBA Draft has officially arrived. We’ll get into more detailed player analysis as the draft approaches (after all, we’re still six weeks away from June 26), but to get our draft coverage underway at Roundball Mining Company we offer first an appetizer — a piquant sampler of strategies and potential selections to watch for in the coming draft, all in 3-on-3 form. As always, we invite you to leave your input in the comments section below by posting your answers to the following questions as well.

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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…)

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