DENVER—Admitting that finishing with the second-best record in the Western Conference has been a bit of a setback for their draft plans, representatives from the Denver Nuggets worried Friday that they had screwed up their attempt to tank for top prospect Zion Williamson. “We thought Zion would be the building block that solidified this team as title contenders, but at some point in the season, we really lost sight of our process,” said general manager Artūras Karnišovas, who expressed embarrassment that the team’s unplanned 50-win season meant it didn’t even have a pick in the 2019 draft, let alone one high enough to draft Williamson. “This season was going to be a throwaway for us—even if we couldn’t finish with the worst record in the league, we figured we’d put ourselves in place to luck out and win the draft lottery. We’ve built our entire future around guys who fit well with Zion’s game, but I guess we didn’t really communicate that these guys should only be playing at 75%. I mean, we might be headed into the second round of the playoffs. That’s the last thing we wanted, so clearly, somebody somewhere really botched this.” At press time, the Nuggets front office had decided the only way to recover from this season was to blow up the entire roster this offseason and start over from scratch.
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