Many times in the NFL we witness a wild card team march to the Super Bowl and even take home the Lombardi. In 2012, the Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup Finals as an eighth seed. Don’t even get me started with the NCAA’s March Madness. Since 1994, when the eighth seeded Denver Nuggets upset the first seeded Seattle Supersonics, the NBA has only seen four teams complete this rare feat.
What I’m getting at, if you haven’t already noticed, is that there is a lack of parity in the NBA. More likely than not, it seems as if the top teams in each conference meet each other in the finals. Underdogs do not stand a chance in the star studded NBA.
This brings me to the main purpose of this article. In today’s NBA, it is almost impossible to be relevant without a “star” on your roster. Since Carmelo Anthony forced his way out of Denver in 2011, the Nuggets have only had one winning season(two if you count the year he was traded). Since winning a franchise record 57 games in the 2012-2013 season, they haven’t amassed more than 36 wins in any single season.
With their current roster, there is star potential in players such as Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray. As of right now however, they are stuck in the land of mediocrity, the absolute worst thing possible in the NBA. They are not good enough to become a top eight team in the Western Conference and make the playoffs, and they are not bad enough to accumulate a top three draft pick.
Although the NBA utilizes the lottery system for the draft, unless you are the Cleveland Cavaliers you need to be pretty horrific to receive a top three pick. Over the years, the lottery has not been kind to the Nuggets. As posted on the official website of the Denver Nuggets, “The Denver Nuggets have previously been involved in the NBA lottery 13 times in the 31 years since the lottery’s inception in 1985. The Nuggets have never ‘moved up’ in the lottery, have ‘dropped down’ eight times and retained their position five times during the annual ping-pong ball drop”.
Albeit the Nuggets are only two games out of the eighth seed with a record of 10-16, the chances they actually make a run into the playoffs is slim. The Trailblazers, who the Nuggets just recently beat, are currently sitting in the eighth spot with a record of 13-15. A playoff team a year ago, they are presumed to pick up their play. The other seven teams in the west are almost locks to make the playoffs.
With all of that being said, the Nuggets need to take a page out of the 76ers book and “Trust the Process”. Simply put, they must tank the 2016-2017 season. If the Nuggets want to become relevant once again, they must build through the draft. Denver, being a smaller basketball market, is not an attractive destination for free agents.
Coincidentally, the upcoming draft is loaded with star potential. With the likes of Markelle Fultz, Josh Jackson, Lonzo Ball and Jayson Tatum, just to name a few, the Nuggets can’t go wrong. The only mistake that can possibly haunt them is the irrational thought of contention this season.