Stats & Info: Denver Nuggets

Top stats to know: NBA draft lottery

May, 20, 2014
May 20
The 2014 NBA draft lottery will be held tonight at Disney/ABC’s Times Square Studio in New York (7 ET on ESPN).

Who’s No. 1?
The Milwaukee Bucks have a 25 percent chance of winning the draft lottery, the best chance among the 13 teams.

Since the lottery moved to its present format in 1994, the team with (or tied for) the best odds has won three of the 20 lotteries – Philadelphia 76ers in 1996 (selected Allen Iverson); Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003 (selected LeBron James); and Orlando Magic in 2004 (picked Dwight Howard).

With that said, just who does win the lottery? Teams with the third- and fifth-best odds have won the draft lottery four times each. No team with the 10th- to 14th-best odds has ever won the lottery.

Lakers rare lottery appearance
The Los Angeles Lakers are participating in just their third lottery since it was first introduced in 1985. The team selected Eddie Jones 10th overall in 1994 and Andrew Bynum 10th overall in 2005.

No matter how the lottery shakes out, the Lakers are guaranteed to have a top-nine pick, the franchise's first single-digit pick since it selected James Worthy first overall in 1982. (Perhaps for good luck, Worthy will be representing the Lakers at the lottery this year.)

They have a 21.5 percent chance of jumping into the top three – and if that happens – it would be just the fourth time in the Common Draft era (since 1966) they’ve had a pick among the top three:

In 1975, L.A. selected Dave Meyers second overall after posting a 30-52 record. Just weeks later, in one of the most notable trades in NBA history, Meyers was packaged with Junior Bridgeman, Elmore Smith and Brian Winters for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Walt Wesley.

When the Lakers took Magic Johnson No. 1 overall in 1979, that pick was acquired in 1976 from the Jazz as compensation for when New Orleans signed veteran free agent Gail Goodrich.

In 1982, the Lakers were coming off a title when they selected James Worthy first overall after acquiring that pick from the Cavaliers in 1980.

Other team notes
• This is the Boston Celtics' 12th lottery pick all-time, but they have never picked No. 1 overall.

• Despite missing the playoffs, the New York Knicks do not have a first-round draft pick as a result of the 2011 Carmelo Anthony trade (they also do not have a second-round pick). The Knicks have selected only eight players in the past seven drafts.

• The Denver Nuggets will be making their first lottery pick since 2003, when they selected Carmelo Anthony No. 3 overall. The Nuggets have never selected first overall.

• The Sacramento Kings will make a lottery pick for the eighth straight year, the longest active streak.

Stat of the Lottery
The Lakers and Celtics are both guaranteed to have a single-digit pick in the 2014 NBA draft.

It will be the first time since 1966 that both franchises will have a single-digit pick in the same draft. The Lakers selected Jerry Chambers seventh overall while the Celtics took Jim Barnett with the eighth pick that year.

All-Star cast: The case for DeRozan, Lawson

January, 28, 2014
Jan 28

Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE/Getty ImagesTy Lawson has put himself among the best point guards in the game.

The NBA will announce its full All-Star Game rosters on Thursday, and a number of players have made a case to make their first appearance in the game. ESPN Stats & Information is taking a five-part look at these players.

1. The Future, Part I (John Wall and Anthony Davis)
2. The Future, Part II (DeMarcus Cousins, Lance Stephenson, Damian Lillard)
3. Emerging Talent, Part I (DeMar DeRozan, Ty Lawson)
4. Emerging Talent, Part II (Serge Ibaka, DeAndre Jordan)
5. The Veterans (Mike Conley, Arron Afflalo, Kyle Lowry)

Here is the third installment, looking at two of the emerging talents in the NBA: DeMar DeRozan and Ty Lawson. All statistics are entering Tuesday’s games.

DeMar DeRozan
In his fifth NBA season, DeRozan is averaging career highs in points, rebounds, assists and minutes played for the Toronto Raptors. Only 10 players in the NBA are averaging at least 21 points, four rebounds and three assists per game this season. DeRozan is one of them. Six of the other nine are All-Star Game starters.

One of the keys for DeRozan and the entire Raptors team has been trading away Rudy Gay. Since the trade, the Raptors are 16-9, after being 7-12 at the time of the deal. The trade allowed Toronto to make DeRozan the focal point of its offense, as his usage percentage has increased from 26.2 percent to 29.4 percent.

As a result, the Raptors offensive and defensive efficiencies have improved by a combined 6.6 points per 100 possessions with DeRozan on the floor.

The change in the way the Raptors have used DeRozan has also contributed to his rise in success, as he has been used less in isolations and more as a pick-and-roll ball handler.

DeRozan has been used as the pick-and-roll ball handler on a career-high 20 percent of his plays, up from his previous career mark of 13 percent. He scores on over 43 percent of those plays, which would rank him 12th in the NBA (minimum 100 P&R plays).

Ty Lawson
Lawson, like DeRozan, is in his fifth NBA season and has put himself among the top point guards in the league. He’s one of four players averaging at least 17 points and eight assists per game, along with Stephen Curry (an All-Star starter), Chris Paul and John Wall.

According to player tracking data from, Lawson created 21.4 points per game from his assists. That is second only to Paul among players who have played at least 25 games this season.

Lawson also uses his speed to put the defense off balance. He averages 10.8 drives per game this season, the most in the NBA according to player tracking data on Those lead to 13.4 points per game, also tops in the NBA on drives.

Two years in, who wins Melo trade?

March, 13, 2013

Getty ImagesCarmelo Anthony has played just as well for the Knicks as he did for the Nuggets

Carmelo Anthony returns to Denver
On Wednesday night, Carmelo Anthony makes his first appearance in Denver since being traded to the New York Knicks in a three-team, 13-player blockbuster on February 21, 2011. Anthony is third on the Denver Nuggets all-time scoring list with 13,970 points and is top-10 in a plethora of other categories for the Nuggets.

The Nuggets have visited Madison Square Garden twice since the trade and have split with the Knicks with Anthony averaging 29.5 points on 37 percent shooting.

Impact of the trade
Including the playoffs, the Nuggets have won 14 more games than the Knicks since Anthony’s departure. However, neither team has advanced past the first round in their conference.

Both teams have improved overall since making the trade. Each have been playoff teams and are playing their best basketball this season since the trade.

Diving deeper into the advanced stats, on a per possession basis, both teams have played similarly efficient defense since the trade, each ranking in the middle third of the league.

On offense, each team has ranked in the top third of the NBA, but the Nuggets have been better; their effective field goal percentage (which accounts for the added value of a 3-pointer) beats New York’s 51.9 to 50.1.

Despite similar efficiencies, the two offenses couldn’t be more disparate. The Nuggets lead the NBA in points per game in the paint (57.7) and on the fast break (19.8). The Knicks on the other hand, score an NBA-low 33.5 points per game in the paint and just 8.9 per game on the fast break, second-fewest in the league.

The Nuggets thrive by moving the ball and have averaged an NBA-best 24.2 assists per game since the trade. With 20.0 assists per game, the Knicks have ranked in the bottom five in the league, favoring a more isolation-heavy offense.

Same old Melo
Despite having one his best scoring seasons in years, Anthony has essentially been the same player in New York as he was in Denver in terms of efficiency and usage percentage overall.

Not so dynamic duo
One of the biggest reasons Anthony wanted to come to New York was to play with Amar’e Stoudemire. They have only been able to play 97 of the Knicks 167 games together including the playoffs. Their record when playing together is 46-51.

Nuggets trending up
The glaring difference between the two franchises is age. The Knicks are the oldest team in the NBA with an average age of 32.4 while the Nuggets are the fourth youngest team in the NBA at 25.3 years.

The two teams have been going in opposite directions since the New Year. The Nuggets have the second best record in the NBA at 26-7 while the Knicks have gone 17-14. The Nuggets are 19-2 at home and the Knicks are 7-6 on the road.

William Cohen contributed to this article.

Denver provides the ultimate home court

February, 19, 2013

Rocky Widner/NBAE/Getty ImagesThe Nuggets play a different brand of basketball at home
The Denver Nuggets started the season 11-12 but have run off a 22-9 record since then. What changed? 17 of Denver’s first 23 games were on the road, but since then, they’ve played 19 of 31 at home.

Since the New Year, the Nuggets have the second-best record in the NBA (16-6) by reeling off 13 wins in 15 home games, including seven straight. They are currently sitting fifth in the Western conference. Tonight they host the Boston Celtics to tip off post-All-Star break action.

Since 2000-01, the Nuggets have won nearly 68 percent of their home games but only 38 percent of their road games. No team has seen a higher increase in winning percentage from road to home games than the Nuggets.

At home, the Nuggets are a dynamic team that scores 110 points per 100 possessions (4th in NBA) and allows 99.5 points per 100 possessions (9th in NBA).

The Nuggets have a better offensive efficiency at home than the San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers and a better defensive efficiency than the Oklahoma City Thunder, Miami Heat and New York Knicks.

During the 16-6 stretch, they are forcing 17 turnovers a game, leading to 22 points per game on offense, both of which lead the NBA over this stretch. The Nuggets ability to create turnovers and willingness to get out on the break have led to a league-high 58.7 paint points per game since January 1st.

The Nuggets are having a historic year, averaging 56.8 points per game in the paint. The last team to come close to that type of production was the 1997-98 Los Angeles Lakers with 54.1 points in the paint per game.

The Celtics won at home 118-114 (OT) on February 10, part of an 8-1 stretch for the Celtics since Rajon Rondo’s injury.

Paul Pierce had his eighth career triple double (27-14-14)

The Celtics won despite giving up a season-high 62 points in the paint (outscored by 32 in the paint).

Paul Pierce is averaging 7.2 assists per game since the Rondo’s injury (3.8 prior).

Since January 1st, Ty Lawson is scoring 19.2 points per game while shooting 49.7 percent from the field (13.6 PPG and 40.8 FG pct prior).
Stats & Info insights into this morning's top sports stories

Paul Pierce
1. RARE CELTICS PERFORMANCE: Paul Pierce posted a statistical performance that hadn’t been done by a Boston Celtics player in the playoffs since 1977. Pierce finished with 36 points and 14 rebounds, the first Celtic to reach those levels in a playoff game since Dave Cowens in 1977. Tommy Heinsohn in 1957 is the only other Celtic to accomplish the feat.

2. KOBE KEEPS SCORING: Pierce wasn’t the only NBA veteran with a big scoring performance on Tuesday. Kobe Bryant, at 33 years old, scored 38 points in a win against the Denver Nuggets. FROM ELIAS: It’s the first time that two players age 33 or older have scored 35 points on the same day in the NBA playoffs.

3. WALK-OFF WIN: Let’s go to the other end of the age spectrum for this note. FROM ELIAS: Brett Lawrie, who turned 22 in January, hit his second career walk-off home run in the Toronto Blue Jays’ win over the Texas Rangers. Lawrie is the only player born in the 1990s to hit a walk-off home run. He is one of three active players to hit multiple walk-off homers before turning 23 years old. The others: Carl Crawford and Ryan Zimmerman.

4. FAMILIAR HONOR FOR POPOVICH: He’s won four NBA titles, and Tuesday Gregg Popovich was awarded his second NBA Coach of the Year award. He becomes the seventh coach in NBA history to receive that honor multiple times. Pat Riley and Don Nelson are the only coaches to win three of them. But this year’s San Antonio Spurs aren’t the same as those of the past. The Spurs averaged 103.7 points (second in NBA) this season, tying their highest average under Popovich.

Evan Longoria
5. LOSING LONGORIA: The Tampa Bay Rays will be without Evan Longoria (hamstring injury) for 4-8 weeks. Over the previous three seasons (2009 to 2011), Longoria is second among all position players in wins above replacement. Only Albert Pujols contributed more during that span. On the bright side, the Rays were 18-11 in the 29 games Longoria did not play last season. That’s a better winning percentage than their 73-60 record in games he did play.
Stats & Info insights into this morning's top sports stories.

1. CLIPPERS MAKE HISTORIC COMEBACK: The Los Angeles Clippers defeated the Memphis Grizzlies, 99-98, in Game One of their First-Round series. The Clippers trailed by 21 points at the end of the third quarter. The win tied the shot-clock era playoff record for the largest deficit overcome at the end of the third quarter. (2002 Boston Celtics vs New Jersey Nets)

2. BYNUM RECORDS TRIPLE-DOUBLE IN WIN: Andrew Bynum recorded a triple-double (10 Pts, 13 Reb, 10 Blk) in the Los Angeles Lakers 103-88 win over the Denver Nuggets in Game One on Sunday. According to Elias, was the first triple-double by a center in an NBA playoff game since May 7, 1993, when David Robinson of the San Antonio Spurs (20 points, 17 rebounds, 11 assists) did it against the Portland Trail Blazers.

3. RONDO EJECTED, CELTICS DEJECTED: Rajon Rondo was ejected for bumping a referee during the fourth quarter of the Celtics 83-74 Game One loss to the Atlanta Hawks. NEXT LEVEL: If Rondo is suspended, the Celtics offense will likely take a hit. The Celtics averaged over seven points more per 100 possessions with Rondo on the floor this season compared to when he was off the floor or out.

4. RAYS ROMP RANGERS IN SERIES: The Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Texas Rangers, 5-2, taking two of three games in their weekend series against the defending AL champions. According to Elias, the Rangers had won each of their seven previous series this season, tying them for the second-longest streak of consecutive series wins to begin a season for a team that had gone to the World Series the previous year. The 1907 Chicago Cubs won their first 11 series and the 2003 San Francisco Giants won their first seven.

5. METS WIN A CLOSE ONE: The New York Mets defeated the Colorado Rockies, 6-5 in 11 innings. According to Elias, it was the second victory in franchise history in which the Mets allowed a pair of game-tying home runs in the 8th inning or later. The other was New York's classic 19-inning, 16-13 win at the Atlanta Braves on July 4, 1985.
Stats & Info insights into this morning's top sports stories

1. TWO HAT TRICKS: The Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins, 8-5, to take a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. Claude Giroux had three goals and three assists to set a team record for most points in a playoff game. Rookie Sean Couturier also had three goals. The Flyers became the fourth team in the expansion era to have multiple hat tricks in the same playoff game.

2. TWO SHORTHANDED GOALS: The Los Angeles Kings defeated the top-seeded Vancouver Canucks, 4-2, to take a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference Quarterfinals. FROM ELIAS: Dustin Brown became the 13th player in NHL history to score a pair of shorthanded goals in a playoff game, but he is the first of those players to account for his team's first two goals in that manner.

Aaron Harang
3. HARANG MAKES HISTORY: The Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the San Diego Padres, 9-8, on Andre Ethier’s bases-loaded walk in the ninth inning. FROM ELIAS: After allowing a leadoff single, Dodgers starting pitcher Aaron Harang struck out nine straight batters, falling one shy of the MLB record of 10 set by Tom Seaver against the Padres in 1970. Three other pitchers had nine consecutive strikeouts in a game: Mickey Welch in 1884, Jake Peavy in 2007 and Ricky Nolasco in 2009.

4. 30 THEN 30: FROM ELIAS: Andrew Bynum scored a game-high 30 points and led the Kobe-less Los Angeles Lakers to a 103-97 victory over the Denver Nuggets. Bynum, who had 30 rebounds in the Lakers’ last game, at San Antonio on Wednesday, became the first NBA player with 30 rebounds in one game and 30 points in the next since Moses Malone had 32 rebounds (and also 38 points) on Feb. 11, 1982, and then scored 32 points in his next game, two days later.

Alex Rodriguez
5. A-ROD TIES THE KID: The New York Yankees defeated the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, 5-0, in their home opener. Alex Rodriguez went 3-for-4, hitting his 630th career home run. He tied former teammate Ken Griffey Jr. for fifth on the all-time list. FROM ELIAS: A-Rod and Junior played 587 games as teammates with the Mariners from 1994 to 1999; when Rodriguez left Seattle following the 2000 season to sign as a free agent with the Rangers, he trailed Griffey by exactly 250 career homers, 398 to 148.

6. MISSING SUPERMAN: Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard has been diagnosed with a herniated disk in his lower back. There is no timetable for his return. This will certainly impact the Orlando defense moving forward. The Magic have allowed opponents to score 7.0 points per game more when Howard is not on the court this season.