Do you folks remember the NBA lottery last season? The Nuggets didn't have a great shot at winning the whole thing from the 11th spot, and nothing of note happened for the Nuggets after the ping-pong balls dropped. Denver remained in the 11th spot, wound up trading the pick to the Chicago Bulls, and "drafted" Jusuf Nurkic (All Rookie Team Second Team) and Gary Harris, via the Bulls.
We will once again be watching the Lottery at Jake's Food and Spirits at 3800 Walnut Street tonight (TV coverage starts at 6:00 pm MT and NBA Countdown on ESPN begins at 5:30pm MT). There was that slight mix up, at Jake's, last year when an Orlando Magic card got turned over and we all thought that meant Denver jumped into the Top 3. Alas it was a trade scenario playing out, and Denver fans were once again disappointed in the lotto.
The Nuggets don't have the worst luck in the history of the lottery, but they can't be too far behind the likes of the Sacramento Kings:
@jmorton78 Kings have never advanced in current system. Have fallen a total of 11 spots in the last 8 lottos. Fell from 1 to 4 in Blake yr.— Greg Wissinger (@gwiss) May 19, 2015
Ouch. I feel bad for our friend and SB Nation colleague, Greg Wissinger. But the Nuggets have dealt with a long history of misery in the lottery process, but have wound up with some pretty nice selections. I detailed how the Nuggets "faired" in the lottery process back in 2013, and this is the chart of how it has all played out. A hat tip to Real GM for making this table more time friendly:
|Year||Record||Odds||Pick||Pre-Lotto Pos||Pick Change||Player Taken||Draft Team|
|2014||36-46||0.80%||11||11th||0||Doug McDermott*||Bulls via Nuggets|
*All players with an asterisk were selected with the Nuggets' pick, but the pick was not owned by the Nuggets at the time of the selection.
As you can see, the Nuggets got jobbed pretty bad in 1991 and 1998, but they also wound up making wise draft selections in years like '91 with Dikembe Mutombo, '92 with LaPhonso Ellis, '92 with Rodney Rogers, and '03 with Carmelo Anthony.
The misses tend to stand out more than the hits, to a certain degree. Perusing Facebook, Twitter, and this website - people, more often that not, point out the pain of Nikoloz Tskitishvili over the sneaky good selection of Ellis or even the lucky selection of Carmelo Anthony (since Kiki Vandeweghe pined for Darko Milicic). It's the pain of the misses that stand out to Nuggets fans and I count myself among them.
No matter what happens tonight, the Nuggets will have major questions on their hands. It'll play out one of three ways:
1.) They leap into the Top 3.
2.) They stay put at 7th.
3.) They drop to, possibly: 8th, 9th, or 10th. Eighth would mean one team from positions 8-14 jumped ahead of them, ninth would mean two teams leaped ahead of them, and three would mean three teams leaped ahead of them.
In any of the three scenarios, the Nuggets front office will have to make major decisions. There are no clear cut answers in this draft, and while there will be many good or great players, determining who they are is anybody's guess.
Here is how the lottery breaks down, we'll see some of you at Jake's, and we'll have a live thread up here.