What is the surest way for the Nuggets to return to the NBA playoffs?
Win the lottery.
Easy enough, right? Tuesday is an enormous night for the Nuggets. Given the talent at the very top of this draft, one lucky bounce of a ping-pong ball could turn the Nuggets from lottery team to Western Conference contender.
That’s how highly I think of Jabari Parker. The rest of the draft outside of Parker, Andrew Wiggins and Dante Exum? Ehhh. Like 99 percent of college freshmen, it was overhyped from the beginning.
Here’s the kicker: the odds of the Nuggets leaping from the No. 11 pick to the No. 1 pick are roughly as good as Nate Robinson playing a full game without launching an off-balance fadeaway. Denver has a 0.8 percent chance of landing the top pick when the lottery order is unveiled at 6 p.m. Tuesday on ESPN.
Hey, stranger things have happened. Nikoloz Tskitishvili happened. Raef LaFrentz happened. Tony Battie happened. On the other hand, Melo happened (right after Darko happened).
So it depends on your view of the Nuggets’ draft history whether you think they are overdue for some good luck in the draft or if they used up their luck when the Pistons passed on Carmelo Anthony to select Milicic.
Me? I’m an eternal Nuggets optimist.
The Nuggets are not in terrible shape. They need to figure out if Brian Shaw is the right guy for this roster — not the other way around — but it’s foolish to say the 2012-13 Pacers were better than the 2012-13 Nuggets, for example.
Parker, the former Chicago Simeon star, should be the No. 1 pick on every team’s draft board. Unless something changed at the combine, he is No. 1 on the Nuggets’.
The odds of Parker landing in Denver are not very good. But the NBA lottery is no time for probability percentages or common sense. It’s time for wishful thinking.
Now where’s that lucky horseshoe?