Me, to my lovely spouse as I choose to write about the Denver Nuggets lack of luck: I’m not sure if I’m Dumb or Dumber in this choice.

Lovely Spouse: Can’t it be both?

Geez. Tough crowd. So, I’ve got that going for me. Another killer example of my brilliance in stories about luck, this one from the third row of a movie theatre while watching Apollo 13.

Me, about two-thirds of the way into the movie: PSH!

Best friend, sitting next to me: What’s wrong?

Me: It’s just an unbelievable plot. Nothing goes wrong for people at this rate.

Best friend, taking a moment to process, dumbfounded: You do know this is historically documented and accurate, right? Not fiction.

Me: Uh… huh. I need to reprocess the last 70 minutes.

It really was a hell of a movie after that. It had simply been tough to swallow the odds that so many things could go wrong (in the very worst of ways) for a trained and talented group of people in a high-pressure situation. But misfortune fell like a line of voodoo dominoes to these poor bastards two-thirds of the way to the moon. The crew had never trained for the emergency they faced, primarily because everyone assumed you’d never be able to survive an oxygen tank explosion in space 160,000 miles from Earth and be able to limp a broken spacecraft home. The odds were against that crew in so many ways due to misfortune after misfortune.

Against all odds, the three gents hanging way out beyond the atmosphere got themselves home through a combination of brains, talent, cool-headedness, some friends back home, and even a little late luck. Like an idiot, I’d entered not knowing the truth of the story, and had literally assumed they’d numbered the film’s title ship “13” to play on the fears of the triskaidekaphobians in the crowd. I’m not the sharpest bulb in the pack. This isn’t rocket surgery. (except for the crew, it sorta was)

Your Denver Nuggets have it easy compared to that, though sometimes it feels as if their luck has run a similar course. They’re not in a life-or-death situation this season, but just outside the playoffs can certainly feel like purgatory of its own.

For the second year running, the Nuggets find themselves at the butt end of the NBA Draft Lottery, with a half-percent chance at the first pick in the draft. One out of 200 isn’t really ideal for a team that would love to add depth to a growing talent base with as sure a thing as you can land. Though GM Tim Connelly has a very solid history of finding gems where he picks, the odds of moving up are slim. How slim? Check it out:

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Less than two percent odds of moving up the ladder at all, Nuggets Nation. The growing group of fans who identify with the #Nugglife crowd are made up of folks with a historical knowledge, all familiar with a lack of seeing the odds ever in their favour.

For those few unfamiliar with that history, the 10,000 foot view is a rare trifecta. The Denver Nuggets have:

  • never had a #1 pick
  • never moved up in the draft
  • moved DOWN more than half of the time.

That last one is right. Eight out of 15 trips to the Draft Lottery have ended in the Nuggets having a worse position than their odds dictated they could have, including three times when they’d finished the season with the league-worst record.

That’s actually not the easiest thing to do, that level of things going against you. It almost seems unbelievable, doesn’t it? If the movie had been titled “Nuggets 13”, I’d have never believed it. Fortunately, I don’t need my buddy to lean over this time to remind me of historical accuracy, as I’ve watched most of it in real time. But like the lunar crew that threaded the eye of a needle and shot themselves around the moon to make it 238,900 miles home to land within 3.5 nautical miles of their rescue ship, you just never know. Twelve days from now, many Denver Nuggets fans will utter the sentence “_uck the luck!” Whether that begins with an “F” (98%) or a “B” (2%) remains to be seen. Maybe this is the year we finally splash down.

I’m off to kick another football…

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