Draft lottery week is upon us! The Denver Nuggets unfortunately have had the privilege of being part of this dubious event far too often in their history, including next Tuesday being their third straight appearance. Despite ample appearances in the event, the Nuggets have yet to produce a single favorable outcome. Such poor luck clearly has to be the result of some sort of pattern. Perhaps, it's been Denver's representative at the lottery. David Kahn once remarked that he knew the Minnesota Timberwolves had no chance of winning the lottery when he realized the son of the Cleveland Cavaliers owner was set to represent the Cavs. Nick Gilbert had battled neruofibromatosis his whole life and after the Cavs cashed in on a 2.8% chance at the top pick Kahn stated "The league has a habit, and I'm just going to say habit, of producing some pretty incredible story lines." So, is that the trick? Does the future of the Nuggets rest on who awkwardly sits at a podium for 30 seconds of TV time next Tuesday? Perhaps...let's break down the candidates.
The Nuggets Governor has sat in for the lottery before. Last year Kroenke could be found looking like it was the last place on earth that he wanted to be as he watched the Minnesota Timberwolves earn the right to draft Karl-Anthony Towns. Perhaps he would have been less surly if he knew back then that Emmanuel Mudiay would fall into the Nuggets lap. Let's just say it certainly looked like a one and done proposition for Denver's top man as the distaste for the whole event was quite evident on his face. Safe to say I don't think it will be Kroenke up there Tuesday night
Why not Tim Connelly? He's been the brains behind the quick rebuild Denver is going through that has been based largely on his acumen for finding talent in the draft, including selections like Gary Harris, Emmanuel Mudiay, Jusuf Nurkic and Nikola Jokic. It's also not uncommon for the GM to be the guy sitting at the Barclays Center hoping for his envelope to be the last one remaining. In fact just two years ago it was Cavaliers GM David Griffin with the big dumb grin on his face at the end of the night as the Cavaliers won the right to draft Andrew Wiggins. Smart betting money is probably on Connelly to be the guy, but there are also much more interesting candidates.
The Nuggets have gone the route of the head coach representing the team before. Brian Shaw did it in 2014, where he looked almost as uncomfortable as Kroenke did. Coach Malone has never been one to be shy with the media though, and he might make a nice candidate. After all, whomever the Nuggets pick they'll be working every day with the coach so perhaps the team should put it on his shoulders to finally deliver some lottery luck. If it is Malone, then he should consider the deeply superstitious nature of the sailor. Coach is clearly a sea man at heart judging by his grizzled beard, and if that's the case he best not come to lottery in anything short of his full popeye regalia.
Players have also been known to make an appearance at the lottery. I distinctly remember Kyle Lowry representing the Houston Rockets slimmest of chances one year (though honestly I'm pretty sure that's just because they needed someone to go and Lowry probably figured he had to catch a flight to New York that week anyways). Mudiay makes the obvious choice among the players. He represents the face of Denver's future and was a lottery pick just last season. Once again, another solid pick for the betting crowd, but one that's a little too predictable for my taste.
Now we're talking! Not to my knowledge has the strength and conditioning coach ever been elected as the representative but when you're trying to reverse decades of bad luck you need all the positive energy you can get and no one provides that like Hess. Granted, the NBA might have to bring in a bit shorter podium than they are typically used to but can you imagine if we won? Hess would likely explode from excitement. I can see it now, the Nuggets logo is revealed as the number one pick and Steve leaping for joy screaming "Gettin bettah!!!!"
A member of the Denver Nuggets Dancers
Another would be first. Why no team has ever put one of their dancers on TV to be the teams representative is beyond me. Let's face it, the lottery at its core is pretty boring. Somehow ESPN manages to stretch 30 seconds of action into a half hour long special, the least that can be done is to put someone nice to look at up there. Plus, the cold hearted fact of the business is the girls get a pittance for what they put in to be able to represent the team, and most all of them have other jobs that demand a lot of their time too. Giving one of them (or hell send them all) a free trip to New York wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.
Another player and one who doesn't even have a contract for next season but Miller would make a great representative. His biggest contribution during the season for the Nuggets was making plays while standing in one spot so its natural to believe that could translate to making big time roster additions by standing in one spot as well. His chances of being retained next year might be slim but Mike is a good dude and Denver could do a lot worse than sending him up there.
I mean really, is there any other choice? Win or lose you know we're in for some entertainment with the Super Mascot there. If Denver wins then I can only imagine a full out celebration with Rocky busting out cheering signs to the crowd and launching t-shirts would ensue. If Denver loses? A rain of silly string or a cake to the face is sure to befall the associate commissioner. I find it odd that no team has ever sent their mascot to be a representative. The whole lottery ordeal has become so ritualized that its something of a farce so why not just accept it and let the mascots have some fun with it? Rocky's been known to break mascot barriers before...do it Nuggets.
Ultimately, whomever Denver chooses will have the unenviable burden of reversing a plethora of years of bad luck. They unfortunately (or really fortunately in the grand scheme of things) do not have any sick relatives of the teams personnel or widows to trot out there for the ol' heartstrings ploy, so their going to need someone who can bring extra good vibes to the ordeal. My vote is for Hess, but as long as #7 passes without the Nuggets name being called I don't care who is sitting behind the podium looking like they're holding in a really big fart.