Like millions around the world, Tim Connelly is bunkered down at home as he respects the calls for social distancing to save lives during the Coronavirus pandemic. That, however, doesn’t stop his all-encompassing role as President of the Nuggets’ Basketball Operations.
“We’re lucky that we can still prepare for the draft,” Connelly told Altitude Sports Radio Monday. “We’ve had quite a few conference calls and more video calls in the last couple of weeks than in my whole life.”
In addition to evaluating future prospects for the 2020 NBA Draft, whenever it might occur, Connelly is also working to provide enough resources to keep current Nuggets players active and in shape during the NBA’s hiatus. That can be difficult when the team’s facilities and public gyms in the area are shut down due to preventive measures.
“We have a bunch of self-motivated guys, we don’t need to lead them into the weight room or the court,” Connelly said. “We can’t organize workouts anywhere outside of our building, so it’s really up to these guys to be creative…We’ve had video classes, we’ve got guys on bikes, we’ve got guys running outside.
“Felipe [Eichenberger], our head strength coach, is doing a fantastic job of suggesting workouts and catching up with all of these guys. We’re a pretty connected group, but it’s unprecedented that most of these guys don’t have a basketball gym to go to. That’s never been the case for most of these guys since they were 10-12 years old.
Connelly jokingly added, “Our goal is to not get them to a point where they look like me and take them a month to get back to shape.”
Connelly updated two shows on Altitude SR, the Moser, Lombardi and Kane show and the Kreckman & Lindahl, on where things stand with the Nuggets and the NBA season. Here’s what he had to say:
On the potential return of the NBA:
I’ve had constant dialogue with buddies in different jobs [in the NBA] about what they think and what they hear quite often. There’s just so much unknown right now. Our focus right now is society, we get getting through this with as little fatalities as possible, with as few people getting sick as possible. There are some really smart people at the league level, they’re looking at a million different scenarios and we have our fingers crossed that maybe we can finish the season. I think, as a sports fan, it’s been so bizarre not having any sports to watch. Not just obviously the NBA, but I would like to think, and maybe this is a bit too optimistic, that [if] we can get back to playing a little bit, it could be helpful for all of us to have a bit of a distraction.
Any preference on the format when the league returns?
I would defer to Adam Silver and the league. I think if we’re playing basketball again, it’s a great sign that we’ve effectively turned the corner as communities, cities, and states. How that looks? I would hope it looks as similar to what we’ve grown accustomed to over the last X amount of years.
We’ve played  games and to a large extent, you are who you are right now. We feel like we have a chance to make real noise if and when there’s a postseason. But again, I would defer to Adam there.
Thoughts on the Nuggets so far:
We’d thought we’d be a pretty good team and I think we’ve proven we’re a pretty good team. I didn’t like the way we played going into that suspension of the season…Even the elite teams go through a stretch where they’re not firing on all cylinders. I think when we play well, when the ball is flying, when our defense allows us to get out and create offense on the other side, we’re a very tough out.
I think if you look at the success we have had against some of the top teams of the league, we’ve done well. So, I don’t think we’re too different than what we’d hoped we might be when we broke camp back in October. I think it’s a pretty wide-open NBA right now.
In the year’s past, even in last year’s playoffs, the assumption was if Golden State is healthy, [the title] is going to be theirs. Toronto did a great job and came out and won the championship. When this season started, I can’t think of a season in recent memory where there were five or six teams can say we have a legitimate chance to win it all. Now maybe this is a bit rose-colored, but I still think we’re one of those five or six that have a chance.
Thoughts on Coronavirus’ impact on Denver:
There are the obvious health implications, but I just feel so badly for the community right now. I’m looking out my window and I see shuttered restaurants, the service industry [is struggling]. Then obviously the first responders, the nurses, doctors, janitors, delivery guys, truckers, so many people are putting themselves in harm’s way. There are so many heroes.
On the back end, there are so many people who their financial realities are just unfair right now and this came out of nowhere…You know what a good teammate looks like and society right now, we need them. As many good teammates as we can find.
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