In 1996, and coming off an extremely disappointing 35-win season, our Denver Nuggets had the 10th overall selection entering that summer's NBA Draft. But rather than do his homework and make the most of the selection, then-team president (and Denver Stiffs Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award recipient) Bernie Bickerstaff decided that there wasn't anyone worth drafting after the 9th pick and opted instead to ship the Nuggets' 10th overall selection - along with Reggie Williams (!) and Jalen Rose (!!!!!) - to Indiana for the aging duo of Mark Jackson and Ricky Pierce and the 23rd overall pick, which became the Greek bust known as Efthimious Rentzias. Just to pour salt in Nuggets' fans collective wounds after that disastrous decision, the following players were selected between 10 and 23: Erick Dampier (10), Kobe Bryant (13), Peja Stojakovic (14), Steve Nash (15), Jermaine O'Neal (17) and Zydrunas Ilgauskas (20).
All those guys did was combine for 35 All-Star Game appearances, 10 NBA Finals appearances and three MVP Awards.
Point being, in the NBA you're as likely to snag an impact player at 10 as you are at 20. Not only has this been proven many times throughout NBA history, but the Nuggets themselves have been the beneficiaries of good late drafting with their current roster of talent including Evan Fournier (20th overall in 2012), Kenneth Faried (22nd overall in 2011) and Ty Lawson (18th overall in 2009).
And thus, with the Nuggets holding the 11th overall selection entering Thursday night's NBA Draft - in a deep draft no less - the Nuggets have the opportunity to right the wrongs from nearly 20 years ago and get something substantial with their 11th pick, be it with multiple picks in trade (as is being rumored) or an impact player with the selection itself.
In looking back at 25 years of NBA Drafts to the dawn of the "modern era" of the NBA - i.e. the beginning of expanded franchises in 1988 - the 11th pick has produced an impact player in over half of the drafts and several other notable players have been selected between 11 and 20 in those years, as well.
Check out the following names who have been selected 11th overall since 1988 and those who were selected soon thereafter:
11th Overall Pick: Will Perdue
14 year career, four-time NBA Champion
Notable selections between 11 and 20: Dan Majerle (14), Gary Grant (15), Rod Strickland (19)
11th Overall Pick: Nick Anderson
14 year career, NBA Finals runner-up, career avg 14.4 ppg
Notable selections between 11 and 20: Mookie Blaylock (12), Tim Hardaway (14), Todd Lichti (15)*, Dana Barros (16), Shawn Kemp (17), B.J. Armstrong (18)
*Lichti had no impact whatsoever. I was just seeing if you were paying attention!
11th Overall Pick: Tyrone Hill
15 year career, one All-Star appearance, NBA Finals runner-up
Notable selections between 11 and 20: Loy Vaught (13), Dee Brown (19)
11th Overall Pick: Terrell Brandon
11 year career, two All-Star appearances, career avg of 13.8 ppg, 6.1 apg, 1.6 spg and 87.3% FT
Notable selections between 11 and 20: Greg Anthony (12), Dale Davis (13), Chris Gatling (16), Kevin Brooks (18)**
**Again, just seeing if you're paying attention.
11th Overall Pick: Robert Horry
17 year career, seven time NBA Champion
Notable selections between 11 and 20: Bryant Stith (13), Malik Sealy (14), Doug Christie (17), Don MacLean (19), Hubert Davis (20)
11th Overall Pick: Allan Houston
12 year career, two All-Star appearances, NBA Finals runner-up
Notable selections between 11 and 20: None
11th Overall Pick: Bonzi Wells
10 year career, seven playoff appearances
Notable selections between 11 and 20: Keon Clark (13), Matt Harpring (15)
11th Overall Pick: Jared Jeffries
11 year career, four playoff appearances
Notable selections between 11 and 20: None
11th Overall Pick: Mickael Pietrus
10 year career, four playoff appearances
Notable selections between 11 and 20: Nick Collison (12), Luke Ridnour (14), David West (18)
11th Overall Pick: Andris Biedrins
Nine year career (still active)
11th Overall Pick: J.J. Redick
Eight year career (still active), eight playoff appearances, NBA Finals runner-up
Notable selections between 11 and 20: Thabo Sefolosha (13)
11th Overall Pick: Jerryd Bayless
Six year career (still active)
11th Overall Pick: Klay Thompson
All-Rookie First Team, two playoff appearances
11th Overall Pick: Michael Carter-Williams
NBA Rookie of the Year
Notable selections between 11 and 20: Steven Adams (12), Kelly Olynyk (13), Giannis Antetokounmpo (15)
As you can see, in the past 25 years the 11th overall pick has produced NBA Champions, NBA Finals participants, All-Stars and a Rookie of the Year.
Could 2014 be another year in which the 11th overall pick produces an impact player? Nuggets fans certainly hope so.
Remember to JOIN US for our first-ever NBA Draft Watch Party at 5pm TODAY at Jake's Food & Spirits. Fellow Stiffs and Nuggets fans will be present as we see what the Nuggets decide to do with the 11th overall pick!