Five years ago, I took a deep dive into the Denver Nuggets history of drafting late in the NBA Draft’s first round which, until very recently, was comprised of mostly dubious selections. But as the Nuggets themselves have proven since then with the selections of Kenneth Faried 22nd overall in 2011, Evan Fournier 20th overall in 2012 and the Jusuf Nurkic / Gary Harris combo at 16th and 19th overall, respectively, in 2014, gold can be mined “post-lottery” in the NBA Draft with the right combination of in-depth scouting, team fit and luck.

And as the Nuggets showed the basketball world just a summer ago when selecting Emmanuel Mudiay, drafting seventh overall can be a boon for a franchise.

So with our Nuggets holding three selections in this June's NBA Draft at seven, 15 and 19, I thought it would be fun to go back 31 years of NBA history (when the NBA Draft Lottery began) and revisit the best five players made with those picks. Sadly, there's a striking number of busts at these draft positions – including the Nuggets own fumble by selecting Todd Lichti at 15th in 1989 – but as you'll see below, these three selections have produced a number of All-Stars and even two MVPs.

And while I recognize that it's unlikely that the Nuggets will keep all three of their selections in this June's NBA Draft, this exercise should at least inspire Nuggets fans to see what "could" happen with those three picks …

Top Five Players Drafted 7th Overall

1) Stephen Curry, 2009

Just seven years into his NBA career, Stephen Curry has already won two league MVP Awards, one NBA Championship and might well be on his way to second championship. In other words, Curry has already cemented his status as the best seventh overall pick of the last three decades.

2) Chris Mullin, 1985

Before Curry came along, another member of the Golden State Warriors reigned as the NBA’s best seventh overall pick: Chris Mullin. A five-time NBA All-Star, a member of the original 1992 USA Olympic “Dream Team” and a Hall of Famer, Mullin is not only one of the best seventh picks of all time but one of the NBA’s best all-time small forwards.

3) Kevin Johnson, 1987

Momentarily putting aside Kevin Johnson’s litany of sexual abuse accusations, the current Mayor of Sacramento (who is credited with keeping the Kings in Sacramento) was a terrific point guard for the Phoenix Suns from 1988 through 1997, a span during which Johnson appeared in three All-Star Games and helped lead the Suns to just their second-ever NBA Finals appearance.

4) Richard Hamilton, 1999

Selected seventh overall by the Washington Wizards in 1999, University of Connecticut star Richard Hamilton had an outstanding 14-year NBA career that included three All-Star Game appearances, two NBA Finals appearances an NBA Championship – alongside Denver native Chauncey Billups – in 2004.

5) Damon Stoudamire, 1995

The first-ever pick of the Toronto Raptors, Damon Stoudamire won the NBA’s Rookie of the Year Award in 1996 after an exemplary rookie season up north. Stoudamire’s second season was even better when he averaged 20 points and nine assists per game. Stoudamire never quite lived up to his first and second season hype, but he did play for 13 solid seasons in the NBA.

Honorable Mention: Jason Williams (1998), Nene Hilario (2002), Luol Deng (2004), Harrison Barnes (2012)

Top Five Players Drafted 15th Overall

1) Steve Nash, 1996

Before Stephen Curry showed the basketball world that an undersized, sharp-shooting guard could be a two-time MVP Steve Nash was doing it. For 18 mostly thrilling seasons, Nash dazzled the NBA with his combination of creative shooting and passing that helped him garner eight All-Star Game selections and guide the Suns to three Western Conference Finals. Sadly, Nash joins Derrick Rose as the only two MVPs in NBA history to have never appeared in an NBA Finals.

2) Kawhi Leonard, 2011

With back-to-back NBA Defensive Player of the Year Awards and the 2014 NBA Finals MVP Award already on his mantle, Kawhi Leonard could someday surpass Nash on this list.

3) Al Jefferson, 2004

Even though “Big Al” Jefferson has routinely put up All-Star caliber numbers since entering the league as a Boston Celtic in 2004, he has yet to be named to an NBA All-Star Game. Now on the downside of his NBA career, Jefferson is only 31 and should have a few good years left.

4) Giannis Antetokounmpo, 2013

If the 2013 NBA Draft were to be re-drafted today, “The Greek Freak” Giannis Antetokounmpo would be chosen first overall. Antetokounmpo is living proof for Nuggets fans that good value can be found even in weak drafts (lest we forget that Anthony Bennett was the first overall selection that year).

5) Dell Curry, 1986

Before there was Stephen Curry there was his sharp-shooting father, Dell Curry. The elder Curry played 16 years in the NBA, many of which for the Charlotte Hornets, and finished with a career three-point shooting percentage of 40.2%. One can only wonder what the elder Curry would do in today’s shooter-friendly NBA.

Honorable Mention: Brent Barry (1995), Matt Harpring (1998), Robin Lopez (2008)

Top Five Players Drafted 19th Overall

1) Zach Randolph, 2001

After a bumpy start to his NBA career in Portland, New York and Los Angeles with the Clippers, no one could have envisioned the career that the talented but oft-troubled Zach Randolph would have in Memphis where he has led the Grizzlies to the best seasons in their franchise history and appeared in two All-Star Games. Even at 34 years old, Randolph is still a force to be reckoned with on the low post.

2) Rod Strickland, 1988

Considered by many experts to be one of the best players in NBA history to have never appeared in an All-Star Game, Rod Strickland starred in the NBA for most of his 17 year career and even led the NBA in assists while playing for the Washington Bullets in 1997-98.

3) Jeff Teague (2009)

Simply put, without Jeff Teague’s leadership at the point guard position the Atlanta Hawks wouldn’t have had the exemplary regular seasons they’ve had for the past two years.

4) Jamaal Magloire, 2000

After a solid 12-year NBA career that included one All-Star Game appearance in 2004, the Canadian-born Jamaal Magloire is back with his hometown Toronto Raptors as an assistant coach.

5) Ken Norman, 1987

Before age and injuries stripped him of much of his talent, Ken Norman starred for a struggling Clippers team in the late 1980s and early 1990s when, regrettably, no one was watching.

Honorable Mention: Dee Brown (1990), J.J. Hickson (2008), Avery Bradley (2010), Gary Harris (2014)