With the 2016 NBA Draft coming up on June 23rd, the Nuggets are looking to select an impact player with the No. 7 pick, but who in the front office pulls the trigger and makes those draft day decisions? Is it Josh Kroenke, the team president, or is it Tim Connelly the Nuggets GM?
Kroenke played Divison I basketball at the University of Missouri and took over as Nuggets team president at the age of 30. He was intimately involved in the team-building in his early years running the organization, most notably in the Carmelo Anthony trade in which he helped get a heap of young talent that energized the Denver fans. But as the team has struggled after Kroenke fired head coach George Karl after a 57-win season, he’s allowed Connelly to take the reins – especially when it comes to personnel.
“2014, 2015 and this year were are all Tim Connelly and his team,” said Jeff Morton of DenverStiffs.com who joined Notaro and Big Dee on Mile High Sports AM 1340 | FM 104.7 to break down the Nuggets draft process and Connelly’s overall value to the team. “It is Tim Connelly’s purview. He is the man, as far as I know, he has the final decision.”
Connelly has a deep knowledge of basketball. He worked for two different teams prior to the Nuggets. He was the director of college scouting for the Washington Wizards and assistant GM for the New Orleans Hornets where he handled scouting as well.
Working with college and professional players for over 20 years Connelly has one of the best eyes for talent in the NBA.
This year the Nuggets have the seventh overall pick in the draft. With a team full of young talent like Emmanuel Mudiay (last year’s No. 7), and Nikola Jokić, who was drafted in 2014, the Nuggets are looking to add another young superstar. If they can draft another young stud who has success like Mudiay and Jokić – both were named to the NBA All-Rookie team in 2015-16 – the Nuggets could find themselves having more successful years like they experienced from 2003 to 2012.
“I do think the Nuggets need to start showing some upward movement,” said Morton. “They need to start showing progression, they need to start going from 33 wins to 40 wins.”
Hopefully Connelly’s eye for talent can find another young All-Star that can push the Nuggets over the hump and put them back in contention with the NBA’s best teams.
Listen to the full conversation in the podcast below…
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