Western Notes: Nuggets, McGary, Wolves

The Nuggets‘ next victory should come during the 2015 draft lottery, opines Woody Paige of The Denver Post. Paige argues that Denver should employ a tanking strategy during its final 31 games of the season and points out that although it would be tough to catch the Sixers, Knicks, or Wolves in the loss column, having the fourth-worst record is an attainable goal. The fourth-worst record would give the team a 11.9% chance of landing the No. 1 overall pick, as our reverse order rankings indicate. Denver currently owns a record of 19-32, which is tied for eighth-worst in the league. In order to lose enough games to fall that drastically in the standings, the Nuggets would most likely have to sit players or trade them away, similar to how Philadelphia traded away Evan Turner last season, although that is just my speculation. Our own Chuck Myron looked at Arron Afflalo as a trade candidate and also examined the chances that Wilson Chandler leaves town before season ends.

Here’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • The Thunder have recalled Mitch McGary from their D-League affiliate, the Oklahoma City Blue, according to the team’s twitter feed. The rookie has only appeared in two games to date for the Thunder and accrued a total of three points and three rebounds. The big man is playing in today’s game against the Clippers because Kendrick Perkins is serving a one-game suspension.
  • Inking Nick Collison to an extension was an extremely important part of the Thunder’s future plans, writes Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman. Tramel adds that in addition to being good friends with Kevin Durant, Collison’s always positive attitude is an asset in itself. The power forward’s extension, worth $7.5MM, will keep him under contract through the 2016/17 season.
  • The Wolves are benefiting from having Flip Saunders coach the team in addition to being their president of basketball operations, writes Tom Powers of the Pioneer Press. The team is able to evaluate all the talent on its roster without worrying about the outcomes of games. “From a guy that’s in the management, me coaching is probably easier than having a coach,” Saunders said. “If I had a veteran coach, he’d be coming in every day wanting to trade everybody. They’re trying to win games. If I had a young coach, he’d be worrying about winning so he wouldn’t want to play the young guys. He’d be playing veterans, and the young guys wouldn’t get time.” Minnesota is currently 10-40 on the season, which puts the team in a good position to add more talent via the 2015 draft.

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