Denver Nuggets’ Tim Connelly: We’ll get the best player available in NBA Draft 2020

by Alex Labidou
Nuggets.com Staff Writer
@LabidouA

Need versus the best player available. 
 
It’s the age-old question when it comes to draft strategy for any NBA franchise, but particularly the Nuggets. Since Tim Connelly’s arrival in 2013, the team has seen its fair share of success in the NBA Draft, especially in finding steals later in the draft.
 
Gary Harris (19th overall in 2014), Nikola Jokić (41st in 2015), Monte Morris (51st in 2017) and Bol Bol (44th in 2019) were all selected outside of the lottery and have become important parts of the team’s foundation. The common thread in the development of those four men and other young players such as Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. has been patience. The six mentioned players all had to prove they were ready and earn their spots before cementing roles in Michael Malone’s rotation. Connelly believes that might be even more apparent with whoever the Nuggets select with the No. 22 pick in this year’s draft. 

READ MORE: Nuggets front office reveal how COVID-19 changes draft strategy
 
“We’re at a point of our arc [as a team] where there’s not going to be minutes initially,” said Connelly, the Nuggets President of Basketball Operations, in a filmed interview with Nuggets.com and Altitude. “There’s not going to be free minutes anymore.” 
 
Connelly acknowledged that as the Nuggets transitioned from rebuilding to their current status as contenders, it was easier for a players like Harris, Jokić and Murray to learn from their mistakes with ample playing time. With a loaded roster filled with depth in every position, it is unlikely whoever the team drafts this year will be placed in a similar situation. 
 
“If you’re a rookie in Denver next year, you’re probably not going to play,” Connelly explained. “When you do play, every minute, there's going to be a lot of pressure on those minutes.” 
 
Although the Nuggets are picking near the end of the first round of the 2020 draft,  there is expected to be a lot of high-value role players and potential high risk, high reward projects in that range. Connelly made it clear where he stands. 
 
“We won’t go [with] need. We’ll get the best player available,” he said. 

 
Altitude’s Chris Dempsey contributed reporting to this story. 

Watch the full interview below:

 

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