The 2014 NBA Draft and the Denver Nuggets biggest summer decision is quickly approaching. Although it’s entirely possible the Nuggets will trade out of the 11th pick in the draft (outlined in my last piece), we have to assume they are going to use the draft a player with the 11th pick as it’s the most likely scenario for the team and it’s management right now.
So, over the next couple of weeks leading up to the draft I’m going to take a deep dive into who the Nuggets should select, and their multitude of options in what’s been called the biggest draft of the decade. As I don’t follow college hoops or scouting as much as I should I enlisted the help of my good friend, Dante Roberts. Dante is a draft connoisseur and fellow Nuggets fanatic, so his information is solid. Seriously people, he’s the “Chad Ford” of Fort Collins, Colo.
With that, let’s get into it! Nuggets fans are split on the Nuggets’ first decision when looking at this draft. The Nuggets need to decide if they are going to pick for need, or if they are going to pick the best available player. The 11th pick usually doesn’t provide immediate help to playoff teams, and as the roster currently has two capable players at every position, the simple answer is to pick the best available player. Especially when you consider the Nuggets are picking in the “lottery” section of the draft, and that this draft is considered so deep.
However, the real answer to the age old question of need vs. best available depends far more on what happens in front of them. In the first part of the “Big Draft Decision,” we’re going to hope that the Nuggets get luckier than they did in the Draft Lottery, and that the teams in front of them allow a franchise changing player to fall to them at 11.
This draft is deep. It’s been talked about for years in NBA circles, and it’s clear that you don’t have to pick first in order to change your franchises future for the better. Top caliber players can easily fall outside of the top ten due if the circumstances play out right. So, if one of these players are available: Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Joel Embiid, Julius Randle, Dante Exum, Marcus Smart and Noah Vonleh fall to 11, the Denver Nuggets and GM Tim Connelly MUST take them. Regardless of the position they play.
Now, the odds of them falling out of the top ten (of course the Nuggets pick at 11) are VERY low. If this NBA blogger can determine they will be franchise changers, then usually the people who get paid to pick and scout the players in person are in the loop on just how good a Smart or Randle will be in the NBA.
However, when you look at the draft and see that teams like Cleveland, Sacramento, and New Orleans are in the top ten AGAIN, just like were the past five years, your hopes as a Nuggets fan that one of the big names could fall increase quickly. If these teams look forward to ping pong balls a lot more than playoff games every year, they must be making habitual draft mistakes.
So Nuggets fans, pure luck didn’t work out in our favor in the NBA Draft Lottery. So here’s to getting some real luck due to the stupidity and mistakes of some of the NBA’s worst franchises.