It’s been fun Denver, really it truly has. At times when the regular season has been at a dull point over the past couple years, the Denver Nuggets were able to make yawners actually worth watching, because since Carmelo Anthony left Denver the Nuggets have had this “team over me” mentality.
The way the Nuggets as a whole organization handled losing a superstar talent like Melo was great (Denver will end up getting the better deal). However, this team over me motto is no longer going to work if they want to contend for a championship.
One thing has stayed true over the past 67 years- a golden trophy has been handed out to the champions, and champions are led by superstars. Every single champion has had at least one superstar-type player on their team. This can be said for the Nuggets, who have yet to reach a championship, but both times they made it to the Western Conference finals, they had a superstar player (Alex English and Melo). That is why the Nuggets, in order to compete for a ring, need to drop the team motto and find them another superstar.
Of course, finding a superstar is a lot easier thing to say than to actually do. In order to obtain a superstar you can do so in three ways: free agency, trade, or the draft. Let’s look at the best scenario for each process that the Nuggets could explore this offseason.
Lance Stephenson (Indiana Pacers) 6-foot-5 guard, unrestricted free agent.
The man has been a triple-double machine this year; he’s a very athletic guard who can create his own shot while still being able to knock down what the defense gives him. He’s averaging 13 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists, and really seems to be hitting his prime this year. It will be hard for Indiana to match an offer a team with money can throw at Stephenson.
All that being said, Stephenson is on a very good Pacers team who he gets plenty of help from. There’s question about his character and can at times look similar to how JR Smith was with the Nuggets with his shot selection. It hardly matters to the Nuggets- unless Tim Connelly erases it all, Denver will have basically a dollar in cap room, and can’t offer any significant amount of money. Also it will be hard to attract any free agent to Denver and Stephenson is no different, until Denver becomes a better team or the night life of Denver really takes off, superstar athletes don’t put Denver in their top three desired destinations.
Any possible scenario that could bring Kevin Love to the Rocky Mountains.
It’s been made clear that Kevin Love is starting to become frustrated in Minnesota and is becoming a heavy target for every team in the NBA. Who wouldn’t want a guy that is nightly putting up double-doubles, and one of the most difficult guys to guard?
Love has put up with Minnesota this long and hasn’t gone Melo on the Timberwolves wanting a trade, so who says he can’t end up loving Denver, right? (A city can always dream)
Just like the free agency scenario, the Nuggets just don’t have that much to work with. No guy on the Nuggets’ roster comes close to Love’s production, besides maybe Ty Lawson so who can the Nuggets offer? A banged up Danilo Gallinari? An undersized big man in Kenneth Faried? Maybe they’ll be nice and let the T-Wolves have the highlight (blooper) reel that is JaVale McGee. Let’s just face it, Denver is in a tough situation with this roster and all aspects of the organization.
Need: Shooting Guard/Small Forward
This is where the Denver Nuggets will have the best chance to obtain a (future) superstar. The Nuggets will have a lottery draft pick for the first time since 2003 when they drafted Carmelo Anthony. It’s hard to give an estimated pick to the Nuggets since we’re not sure if they will have their own pick or New York’s.
Yet if I’m Tim Connelly and I’m looking at this loaded draft I’m looking for a scorer. Guys like Rodney Hood (Duke), James Young (Kentucky), and Gary Harris (Michigan St) all have shown that they can be capable scorers. Obviously you pray to the basketball gods every night that somehow the Denver Nuggets strike gold twice in the lottery and can get Jabari Parker or Andrew Wiggins. As long as the Nuggets get a scorer with their first round pick, that will lead to the best potential of obtaining a superstar even if it takes some time.