Prospecting: International players anthem

A few years ago the Nuggets selected an international player in the first round of the NBA Draft, resulting in a firestorm of media criticism, fan outrage and blogger perplexity. At the time virtually nothing was known about Evan Fournier — at least not by your layman NBA Draft fan. Though he was slated to be a late first-round pick all year long, not one blogger or analyst (including yours truly) projected him to land with the Nuggets on draft night. Fastforward two years and Fournier has turned into a solid NBA role player, more than justifying where the Nuggets selected him in 2012.

What Nuggets fans should have collectively gleaned from that tumultuous June night is that it’s always wise to cover all your bases when it comes to the NBA Draft, no matter how unknown a foreign prospect is to our highly concentrated American way of life, or how unlikely he is to land with the Nuggets based on Internet mock draft rankings. Therefore, in RMC’s penultimate installment of this year’s Prospecting series we analyze which international player(s) could have the Nuggets singing “I Chose You” in the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft.

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Rumor: Nuggets offering Faried, Chandler, former Nugget not on roster for Love

According to Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald, the Denver Nuggets have made a worthwhile offer to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Kevin Love. Per Bulpett’s twitter account:

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How Denver would go about obtaining Arron Afflalo, then subsequently flipping him to Minnesota, is still unknown. Though Bulpett points out how Denver’s first-round pick in the upcoming draft wouldn’t be sent to the Timberwolves, he doesn’t deny that it could go to the Magic, giving them back-to-back picks at 11 and 12, as well as three lottery selections overall. If this were the case, Orlando would assist the Nuggets in bringing a star player to Denver on the final year of his contract in exchange for a first-round draft pick for the second time in three years, with Arron Afflalo acting as a trade chip each time.

Though the above tweets are only rumors at this point, this news remains unequivocally exciting, and somewhat scary, from a Nuggets fan’s standpoint. While Kevin Love is exactly the type of player Denver has been searching for since the departure of Carmelo Anthony, his contract instability should not be overlooked. If the Nuggets are serious about gambling on Love they must have additional moves lined up down the road, as the team’s current cast of players likely won’t be enough to storm deep into the playoffs nor will it be enough to entice Love to re-sign once his current deal expires.

Regardless of what develops, this storyline certainly adds a whole new and electrifying dimension to the Nuggets’ upcoming draft and ensuing free agency period. As always, stay tuned to RMC for updates.

Report: Nuggets Have Made Kevin Love Trade Offer

One of the biggest story lines in the NBA recently has been Kevin Love and his reported desire to leave the Minnesota Timberwolves. For a few weeks now the rumors have been centered on a few destinations that supposedly had been front runners in the Love sweepstakes, most noticeably the Boston Celtics.

Well this morning came news that the Nuggets are in fact involved in preliminary Love talks and that they in fact have made an even better offer than the Celtics, according to the Boston Herald. 

The Celtics are willing to discuss a number of options, but none of them includes the quality of player with NBA experience that Minnesota is seeking or believes it can get elsewhere.

One source indicated Denver and Golden State have both made more intriguing offers, and there are other teams very much in the picture, as well. There have been conflicting reports on whether the Warriors would make Klay Thompson available, but the Wolves are said to be confident they can find a more than acceptable deal there.

According to Baxter Holmes of the Boston Globe the Nuggets are actually sitting in a pretty good spot in the sweepstakes right now.

The rumors are interesting but trying to figure out exactly what the Nuggets have that the Wolves would be intrigued by is the hardest part.

Kenneth Faried is Denver’s best “young” asset but he is due a big payday soon and it is unclear if the Wolves would want to give him the money he will command. Danilo Gallinari had been the team’s best asset for a while but after missing over a season with a knee injury there are more questions than anything surrounding Gallo at this point. Wilson Chandler is an ok NBA player but he isn’t one that a rebuilding team would want especially at his contract price. Timofey Mozgov had a breakout year but he is 27 and faded badly in the second half of the season which will give some teams pause. In all reality outside of Ty Lawson every asset the Nuggets have comes with a huge question mark attached.

It seems obvious at this point that the Bulls have the best offer to put together to the Wolves but it remains unclear if they will actually do what it takes to make the move happen which means the Nuggets and Warriors are fully in the running to make a splash.

Stay tuned at RMC for more news as the situation becomes clearer.

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 want Lauvergne

According to Sportando.com, Tim Connelly and the Denver Nuggets want to bring French big man and 2013 second-round pick Joffrey Lauvergne to the NBA next year. Lauvergne still has one year left on his contract with Partizan Belgrade who, according to Sportando, is entrenched in financial trouble which could complicate a potential buyout. Lauvergne is coming off the best year of his career last season with Belgrade, leading the Euroleague in rebounds per game.

As always, stay tuned to Roundball Mining Company throughout the summer as we track the Nuggets’ attempts to put 20 men on the floor for the start of the 2014-15 regular season!

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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23 Years a Fan

Erlingur Einarsson is a new contributor to Roundball Mining Company. He is excited to join our team and honored to be an active part of something he cares so deeply about. This is the story of his relationship with the Denver Nuggets for the last 23 years…

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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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New commenting policy

Freedom is an oft-misinterpreted subject. People think they understand what freedom means — they lust for it, obsessively idealize it, even kill over it — yet when faced with unbridled liberty people often become engines of irresponsibility, abuse their privileges and go absolutely bonkers on their fellow man. This, unfortunately, is what has happened in the comments section of Roundball Mining Company as of late. It’s sad, really. I always liked the idea of giving readers as much freedom as possible to say what they want about players, coaches, executives and owners. Perhaps it was stubborn of me to think that was a sustainable policy. Or perhaps I was simply too lenient for far too long a time. Either way, something had to give — which it did — and now we’ve implemented a new commenting policy here at RMC, which you can find in the “About” section of our blog. In summary, if you’re found to have abused your privileges as a commentor on our website, we’ll send you a polite e-mail asking you to tone it down. We will also add you to our “blacklist” which will serve as a reminder for those who’ve been found guilty of breaching our commenting terms. If you then violate our policy for a second time, you will be disallowed from commenting at RMC in the future. Simple as that. Thanks for your time. And as always, thanks for reading (and commenting like a civil human being).

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.

Shaw: “I’m happy where I am”

The recently reported rumors that Phil Jackson might try to lure Brian Shaw away from the Nuggets with an offer to coach the Knicks caused a minor stir, and raised the specter of yet another bout of offseason upheaval among the Pepsi Center’s top ranks. But if Shaw himself is to be believed, it appears highly unlikely that he will, in fact,  so quickly abandon his new team. (more…)

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