- We’ll update our Team Capsules with more specific info once the lottery is complete.
2008-09 Record: 54-28
Draft Picks: 34
Key Free Agents:
Steven Hunter (ETO)
How They Got Here:
The Nuggets seemingly went from “on the verge of spontaneous combustion” to “arguably the third best team in the NBA” simply by trading Allen Iverson for Chauncey Billups. But look deeper and it was the surprisingly strong supporting cast and the emergence of Carmelo Anthony as an all around player that allowed Denver to prove its many doubters wrong. In addition to Melo upping his assists, rebounds and shooting percentages, guys like JR Smith, Kenyon Martin, Nene and Chris Anderson – all players seemingly on the verge of starting a brawl, getting ejected or punching a baby or something – turned into key contributors capable of filling their roles perfectly alongside Melo and Chauncey. This team went from a defense-less, unorganized trainwreck to a seemingly cohesive team that no longer wanted to strangle its coach, and vice versa.
What They Need:
Adding to the above praise, most of this team is relatively young, and barring a major drop-off from Billups, should be able to improve next season. It sounds crazy but retaining the Birdman, who is quietly making himself a lot of money and a lot of new fans after his mysterious drug suspension, should be top priority. If they can, their frontcourt is basically set, although perilously unhealthy. I can’t imagine a scenario where Anthony Carter comes back so if they don’t go with frontcourt depth, adding a backup point guard in Chauncey’s waning years makes sense.
Who They'll Take:
With just a second round pick in a weak draft, the Nugs basically have to just hope to land a guy that can give them some solid bench minutes. With some contracts coming off the books, the Nuggets may actually be able to keep their own pick this year, something they haven’t done since drafting Melo in 2003, and possibly trade into the first round by dangling someone like Kleiza. A lot of the draft “experts” seem to think Patty Mills or Darren Collison could be around even at No. 34 (I don’t) and I’d have to think Denver would snatch them up pretty quick if either were. Don’t sleep on someone like AJ Price either, who is just talented and just baggage-laden (made up word) enough to fit right in on the Nuggets.
Denver Nuggets Draft History (since 2001)
2008: No Picks
2007: No Picks
2006: Leon Powe (49)
2005: Jarrett Jack (22), Axel Hervelle (52)
2004: Jameer Nelson (20)
2003: Carmelo Anthony (3), Sani Becirovic (46)
2002: Nickoloz Tskitishvili (5), Frank Williams (25), Vincent Yarbrough (33)
2001: No Picks
2000: Mamadou N'diaye (26), Dan McClintock (53)
Stephen Curry - PG/SG - Davidson
Tyreke Evans - PG/SG - Memphis
Blake Griffin - PF - Oklahoma
James Harden - SG - Arizona State
Jordan Hill - PF - Arizona
Ty Lawson - PG - UNC
BJ Mullens - C - Ohio State
Ricky Rubio - PG - DKV Joventut
Brandon Jennings - PG - Arizona
Hasheem Thabeet - C - UCONN