The good, the bad and the ugly: Denver’s poor luck continues

Mar 8, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; A general view of the Denver Nuggets logo on the floor prior to the game between the Denver Nuggets and the New York Knicks at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Now that we are a few days removed from the 2018 NBA Draft Lottery and have had to time to digest the surprising outcome of the Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings and Atlanta Hawks receiving the top three picks in this year’s NBA Draft, it is time to look at the Denver Nuggets (No. 14). This time of year provides hope that teams will bolster their roster into contention and steer away from returning to the lottery next year unless you know – tanking.

Heading into the lottery, the Denver Nuggets had the worst odds at landing a top pick and once again the balls did not land in their favor. A common trend for the Nuggets. So, without further ado, I give you, the good, the bad and the ugly from Tuesday night’s draft lottery.

The Good: Jamal Murray represents

The good is-Denver got to use its up and coming star and a player that they hope ends up remaining in the Mile High City for his entire career as the representative. While it was understood that Denver’s odds weren’t promising to land a prime spot, it was still a great look at how the organization values one of its best players.

Murray was one of four young players that represented their teams, alongside Sacramento’s De’Aaron Fox, Detroit Piston’ Luke Kennard and Josh Jackson of the Suns, who looked stylish while doing so.

Murray wasn’t able to bring Denver any lucky, but they did send a message to their starting point guard and the rest of the league when they had him represent the team.

The Bad: Denver’s options at No. 14 are complicated

There is good to this. We all knew there was no way that Denver likely would not get anything other than the 14th overall pick. It was essentially inevitable and with knowing that, the organization has already had a few weeks to decide what direction they will go.

With the NBA Combine starting on Wednesday, they will immediately get a look at some of the nation’s top prospects and begin the process of deciding what to do with their draft pick. The team will have multiple options and could ultimately decide to shop the pick as well.

If they do decide to the 14th pick, a list of the few players that they have been attached to  are forwards Kevin Knox (Kentucky), Troy Brown (Oregon) and Zhaire Smith (Texas Tech).

The small forward position is one that has been long been an issue that needs to be addressed. With Wilson Chandler having the choice to opt-in or out of his deal, the Nuggets are in somewhat of a delicate situation, but the reality is that the team needs to look at improving at the 3.

The Nuggets may also consider going after another guard to come off the bench behind Jamal Murray. That is where players like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Kentucky), Khyri Thomas (Creighton) and Lonnie Walker IV (Miami) come into play.

These will be players Denver will likely take a look at in the combine and could potentially choose to work out in the coming weeks. In that time, Denver still must decide if they want to use the draft pick or trade it away.

It seems unlikely that Denver would want to experiment, as the window of opportunity to compete is quickly closing and the desire to get back to the postseason is as strong as ever. So, using the first round pick as bait for a potential package deal to get out of contracts with guys like Kenneth Faried, Chandler or Darrell Arthur could definitely be beneficial to the team. Especially if the team wanted to free up money for Will Barton.

Historically, teams do not find perennial all stars at that point in the draft, but there are certainly many options for the Nuggets in this year’s NBA Draft.

The Ugly: Denver’s Lottery History

The Nuggets had the worst chance at moving up in this year’s NBA Draft, and they obviously did not.  Since the NBA introduced the lottery system in 1985, Denver has never won the lottery. But even worse, they have never even moved forward. They have moved back, but in over 30 years, not once have they received a top-three pick.

This is the first time that the team will select at No.14 and maybe that has a bit of mystique to it. With Tim Connelly’s proven track record of finding talented players late in the draft, the organization should feel confident in its ability to make a smart decision with the pick. After once again failing to move up in the NBA Draft though, the Nuggets should feel discouraged by the NBA lottery system as a whole.

 

2018 NBA DRAFT FIRST-ROUND ORDER

  1. Phoenix Suns
  2. Sacramento Kings
  3. Atlanta Hawks
  4. Memphis Grizzlies
  5. Dallas Mavericks
  6. Orlando Magic
  7. Chicago Bulls
  8. Cleveland Cavaliers (from Brooklyn Nets)
  9. New York Knicks
  10. Philadelphia 76ers (from the Lakers)
  11. Charlotte Hornets
  12. Clippers (from Detroit)
  1. Clippers
  2. Denver Nuggets
  3. Washington Wizards
  4. Phoenix Suns (from Miami)
  5. Milwaukee Bucks
  6. San Antonio Spurs
  1. Atlanta Hawks (from Minnesota)
  2. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Oklahoma City)
  3. Utah Jazz
  4. Chicago Bulls (from New Orleans)
  5. Indiana Pacers
  6. Portland Trail Blazers
  7. Lakers (from Cleveland)
  8. Philadelphia 76ers
  9. Boston Celtics
  10. Golden State Warriors
  11. Brooklyn Nets (from Toronto)
  12. Atlanta Hawks (from Houston)
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