The Nuggets stayed put after the lottery balls were sorted out on Tuesday night. They’ll select 13th in the June 22 NBA Draft, which is the spot in which they entered the night. The Nuggets owned the second-best record (40-42) of any team in the lottery.
“The odds certainly were against us moving up, so we expected to stay put when the evening started,” Nuggets general manager Tim Connelly said. “There will be a good young player at No. 13 to add to our young core.”
Overall, the Boston Celtics won the lottery and will pick first with a selection that was originally Brooklyn’s but they acquired in a trade. They were followed by the L.A. Lakers and then the Philadelphia 76ers in the top three. Philadelphia jumped into the top three, while Phoenix fell to fourth.
For the Nuggets, this will be the second time in their history that they have the 13th selection in the draft. The other time was in 1994, and they took point guard Jalen Rose with that pick.
There are some intriguing talents that could be available at that spot. And if the Nuggets are looking for rim protection, players such as Texas center Jarett Allen, Gonzaga center Zach Collins, UCLA center Ike Anigbogu or Creighton center Justin Patton could be on the board when that selection comes up.
Asked about his thoughts on the quality of the draft, Connelly said, “you see a lot of talented players, obviously. It’s a bit top-heavy. The top eight or nine guys are probably set in stone, and there’s a bunch of other talented guys who are going to be in our range.”
Connelly said the team is “constantly ranking and re-ranking our (draft board). We don’t want to be overly reactionary to the post-draft lottery. We have a pretty good sense of how our board looks. It can vary slightly with individual workouts, but it shouldn’t vary dramatically.”
And, as with any NBA draft, deals could be made as well. Nuggets general manager Tim Connelly has always said the franchise looks to be aggressive in improving the team. So there are many options on the table. The Nuggets now will figure out which road they will take.
“It’s an asset,” Connelly said. “And an asset can be maximized a million different ways. I think it’s something that we’ll analyze various angles – keep the pick, trade the pick, move up, move down. All of those things are in play. Obviously it’s a pretty big asset and we’re looking for ways to maximize it.”
In addition to their first-round pick, the Nuggets also have two selections in the second round, Nos. 49 and 51.