Note: I had a super angsty column written, 1000 words full of swearing and cursing the Denver Nuggets cursed Lottery experiences. I junked the whole thing. Complaining about something you can't control is reductive and stupid.
As I sat in a booth at Jakes Sports & Spirits for the Nuggets Lottery party (thanks to everyone who came out, it was very nice to meet you) I found myself getting angrier and angrier. "Why in the hell does this keep happening to the Nuggets" I found myself muttering under my breath. It distracted me. Why do the Nuggets, who have never selected 1st or 2nd in any NBA Draft, seem to be doomed to never finding that bit of luck.
I was angry. Man ... was I angry. Angry at the NBA, angry at how the Nuggets found themselves with the 7th pick is what is largely considered to be a two player draft.
I was wearing the inside out.
The reason I junked my previous 1000 words is because, well, what can you do about it? Raging against percentages and math will get you exactly nowhere and you have to make the best of what you have ... even if it's yet another rotational player. You have to hope that this rotational player surprises and becomes something more than is projected. It's like hoping you win the NBA Lottery but involves more risk.
I'm not good a projecting outside of the eyeball test. I've watched film on Buddy Hield, Jamal Murray, Kris Dunn, Marquese Chriss, Dragan Bender, Jaylen Brown and Timothe Luwawu. All have their obvious attributes, but unlike last season their upside isn't greater than their obvious flaws. I championed Mario Hezonja last season, and while he was disappointing he finally began to show is potential toward the end of the season (plus, you know, Scott Skiles aka Guy who hates rookies and has a reputation for developing that is undeserved was his coach) This particular NBA Draft is very even, and it's not terrible, but it certainly isn't the bonanza of the previous two Drafts. As much as we would like to talk ourselves into it ... it just isn't.
I've lived and died with the Nuggets 14 Draft Lottery failures, and I'm fully aware that many of you who are reading this haven't gone through this process over and over and over... The disappointment gets tiresome. YET.... It's time to move past it and trust that Nuggets General Manager Tim Connelly can pull another rabbit out of his hat and give the fans something to cheer about. The Nuggets NEED a level of excitement because at the Nuggets elevated ticket prices, unless the Nuggets start winning games and lets face it though I dislike the Draft Lottery with the heat of one million suns it may benefit the Nuggets to keep the rebuilding process going.
Who knows though?
You get kicked in the teeth enough by the Draft Lottery you kind of become resigned to things. I trust Tim Connelly's ability to get the best player he thinks will be available at 7. This will mean that Nikola Jokic and Emmanuel Mudiay have that extra bit of pressure on them to become THAT guy. The Star. The one to lead the Nuggets to the next level. Can they do it? It remains to be seen.
I don't envy Connelly's current position, but if anyone can pull a rabbit out of the hat ... it's him. All we can do as Nuggets fans is sit back and hope for the best.
Gotta have High Hopes