The Denver Nuggets just don’t get it.
During the NBA Draft June 26 and leading up to the draft the Nuggets were one of the most active teams making several trades.
So should we raise our expectations for the 2014-2015 Nuggets? Personally, I wouldn’t raise Denver’s expectations for the next 2014-2024 seasons.
While I can appreciate Denver general manager Tim Connelly’s wheeling-and-dealing mentality the Nuggets are going nowhere without a true superstar of their own.
But getting a NBA superstar on your roster is definitely easier said than done. There are about eight-to-12 superstars in the NBA and 30 teams, and even if the Nuggets were willing to pony up a blank check, that still wouldn’t lure a superstar free agent to Denver.
Over the last 30 years of the NBA only eight different teams have won NBA Championships. That list is filled with Lakers titles, Celtics titles, Bulls titles and Heat titles, meaning cities like Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago and Miami are clearly where top NBA talent chooses to reside.
Moreover, the Nuggets are definitely not the Denver Broncos. Tim Connelly is hardly John Elway, an established icon of his own running a proven championship product that is respected around the entire league.
Because of the Broncos’ rich tradition, Denver is a coveted destination for NFL free agents and the team can literally land any player they want because of their credentials.
The Nuggets on the other hand have no history besides owning a few of the worst records in NBA history and have a long list of draft flops.
The Nuggets cannot go out and land top-flight free agents because NBA players don’t see Denver as a winning destination and why would you go to Denver if Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago or Miami covet you?
The biggest fish the Nuggets have ever landed in free agency was Kenyon Martin, who received a max contract from Denver during the 2003-2004 season. The only problem was the fact that the Nuggets had to pull the entire deal off in a sign and trade in which they had to give up three future first round picks.
Because of that Denver was never really ever able to add enough pieces to get over the hump and in the end Martin’s big contract and under-production held the Nuggets back.
Even the one time the Nuggets “won” in free agency, they were actually big losers in the big picture.
So if Denver wants to get really good, they are going to have to get really bad first. While no NBA superstar free agent has ever picked Denver as a landing spot you can certainly still acquire a superstar talent with a little luck and a lot of losses by drafting one.
While the Spurs are again NBA champions and perhaps the model franchise in all professional sports the Nuggets need to use the Oklahoma City model as they plan to rebuild.
The Thunder had to be really bad for a long time before they became really good. But as bottom feeders they positioned themselves for top picks. And starting in 2007, because they were so bad the year before, OKC landed Kevin Durant with the No. 2 overall pick.
The following year they drafted Russell Westbrook at No. 4 overall and one year after Westbrook the Thunder drafted James Harden No. 3 overall. OKC went from the league’s worst team to having a team with three of the top 12 players in the NBA on their roster.
The Thunder had to get really really bad before they got really good and the Nuggets finishing around .500 and trying to add on to a team that will never be destined to compete for a NBA championship is a waste of time.
The Nuggets need a full-on demolition followed up by a true rebuild. Fans are willing to accept being bad for several years if there is a legitimate plan for getting good. So let’s root for the Nuggets next season — to be big losers.