On the eve of the NBA lottery, Denver Nuggets general manager Tim Connelly joined Chris Mannix on the Vertical podcast and provided a bit of an insight into his thinking as he prepares for next month's NBA draft. The podcast covers a wide variety of topics including his interesting road to becoming an NBA GM, Nikola Radecivic, and the Nuggets' plethora of draft picks this season. He also talks about the unique difficulties of scouting in Europe, scouting teenagers, and his network abroad.
He also talked about how he got the job in Denver, his first meeting with Josh Kroenke, and a whole lot of little details about everything from analytics to pro wrestling.
I was at the convergence of old school scouting working for Wes Unseld and Michael Jordan, I was the young guy on staff so I had to become learned in those areas. But it's hard for me to consider myself an analytics guy given that the only class I failed in college was math at Fordham. So it was fascinating, It was really fun to get in on the ground floor and meet all of these people with interesting and creative ideas while still being appreciative that it is just one piece of the bigger pie.
On Gary Harris:
Gary was an easy one. Michigan State's staff thought the world of him.
On extending Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler:
It was two-fold. It doesn't happen without Danilo and Wilson loving Denver. Those guys both knew where the market was going. Both guys have excellent agents. But both guys had been very outspoken about how much they like the city.
On hiring Michael Malone:
I was sold on (Michael Malone) throughout the process. It was more selling the rest of the organization. Every decision in Denver is a group decision, I don't believe in closing the door and coming out and making a decision independently. I don't want to be the loudest voice in the room all the time so I sit down with Josh, Arturus (Karnisovas) and Jared (Jeffries) and I say 'what do you think?' And after the first time we sat down with Mo, Arturus was really impressed by his preparation, his attention to detail. Mo's also just a really good guy, got a great sense of humor, he's fun to be around. The next step was to get in front of Josh, Josh was similarly impressed, and then we moved pretty quickly from that second meeting.
On the draft:
We have countless scenarios but for all of those scenarios you get one phone call and those all go out the window. So we don't know which direction we're going. There's certainly 19 guys we like, we wouldn't be hesitant taking three first round guys if it's guys that we think could help us. We tend to be aggressive. We like to be opportunistic when something presents itself. But, as (today) night is the first chance that we'll have a crystal clear picture of our off-season and we'll move forward from there.
On the draft:
When people say that it's a bad draft, every draft is good you just gotta find the right guy.
You gotta do your homework, cross your fingers, know it's a mistake laden decision, dont be scared of it, trust your process, and do your best.
The timing of the appearance is certainly interesting. This is the time of year that GMs begin posturing for draft day trades and surprise picks so public comments can carry alternative motives. Chris Mannix mentioned as much on the podcast itself. It's possible Connelly agreed to the interview in part to plant a few seeds in the minds of his fellow GMs so take some of the few specifics about the team's strategy in the draft with a grain of salt.
Still, the podcast has a lot of interesting details and provides some insight into Tim's personality and experience.