The All-Star break is upon the NBA season, and for your Denver Nuggets, it couldn’t have come sooner. Reeling off of too many consecutive blowout losses to recant right here, below .500 and six games out of the playoffs, things are not looking too bright for the Mile High Crew. With the West as stacked as it is and the injuries for the Nuggets stacked even higher, there’s only one real question Nuggets management needs to answer. Should the Denver Nuggets start tanking.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that the Nuggets are too good a team and have won too many games to join the likes of the Philadelphia 76ers or Milwaukee Bucks. Plus, with the struggles of the New York Knicks and the fact that the Nuggets will get the better of theirs or the Knicks draft pick, tanking doesn’t make sense.
Here’s the thing with that thinking, though. The East is so weak that a modest five-game winning streak in March might be enough for the Knicks to sneak into the playoffs and out of the lottery. That means, even if they finish with a better record, but out of the playoffs, the Nuggets will be saddled with the own pick at the end of the lottery. If they start tanking and finish just a few games above the Lakers and the Jazz, their own odds in the lottery pick up and if the Knicks indeed miss the playoffs, a top 10 pick is almost guaranteed. In a loaded draft class, that’s good news, not to mention the trade potential.
For those who make the argument that the Nuggets have already won too many games, well, you’re right. If they finish with 30 wins, there’s a good chance that seven teams or more finish with fewer wins. And altogether besides, to finish with that number of victories, a 6-25 record is required in the second half. Maybe the Bucks get there, but no way the Nuggets do. No matter the record at the end of the season, however, improving their lottery odds should be a priority.
The trade deadline is less than a week away and most, if not all of the experts are predicting a busy Denver Nuggets front office not only next week, but in the offseason as well, a top draft pick can only help. After ten consecutive playoff appearances, it might not be what Nuggets fans want, but tanking is the best shot the team has to be competitive next year. A top pick, an Andre Miller trade next week, a potentially huge trade this offseason and Danilo Gallinari and Javale McGee coming back… The Denver Nuggets could be very competitive next year. If they tank the rest of the way, that is.