The Ringer keeps turning out great articles and strangely several of them have featured the Nuggets. Most national fans may still be shocked to find out basketball is still played in the Mile High City, but Denver’s young talent has caught the eye of several writers. Jonathan Tjarks once again turns his eye toward Denver with a great piece on Denver’s international scouting acumen and how they are turning over every stone possible to look for an advantage in the talent game. From the article:
In a league where all 30 teams are furiously trying to get a leg up on each other in finding the next market inefficiency, it’s amazing how effective simply getting the basics right can be. The only conclusion to draw from what the Nuggets have done overseas is there is still free money lying on the ground, waiting to be picked up. Every team in the league could have had Jokic for nothing.
The Nuggets have been stuck in the middle of the NBA for the past few seasons, not good enough to make the playoffs and not bad enough to land a high pick. If they hadn’t been able to find players that other teams missed on in the draft, there would be little reason for hope in Denver. With all the money that is being invested in the sport, there’s still no substitute for scouts who can talk to the right people, ask the right questions, and make educated guesses about how young players will develop. Projecting what 18- to 21-year-old players will look like in five years is more art than science, and the Nuggets have reaped the rewards of employing people who have an eye for both.
Not a lot of people are impressed with Denver’s ability to make the playoffs, as evinced by the ESPN Insider preview earlier in the week that had every insider predicting lottery once again for the Nuggets. That does not mean they are unimpressed by some of the talent Denver is adding, however. Nikola Jokic got all the stats love last year but Jusuf Nurkic has been an unstoppable beast in the preseason on both ends of the floor. Juancho Hernangomez was good enough to force his way onto the Nuggets through his Summer League play and make Denver turn prior international pickup Joffrey Lauvernge into draftpicks.
The wheels keep turning as the Nuggets try to turn themselves back into a perennial playoff team, and the international talent search is a big part of that. Read the article, it’s tremendous. And let us know what you think of Denver’s search through Europe for underappreciated talent!