Grading the Week: Jerami Grant left Tim Connelly at the altar, but who could’ve seen someone choosing Detroit over Denver?
If we’re ranking professional sports executives in the Denver metro, there’s a clear 1A and 1B.
The Avalanche’s Joe Sakic and the Nuggets’ Tim Connelly have constructed exactly the sort of slow, measured builds that produce stable, long-term contenders.
Both franchises are set up for years of relevance, and both did it the right way — identifying and developing talent through the draft, and supplementing that talent through trades and free agency.
But, sadly, even the best-laid plans can turn to rubble.
Tim Connelly — B-
Such was the case last weekend when Connelly was left at the altar by Jerami Grant.
The Nuggets did everything right: Trading for a worthwhile player at an acceptable cost (a first-round pick), giving him an opportunity to shine with a prominent role during a deep playoff run, and then matching the highest offer he received on the free-agent market.
Yet Grant still decided to leave … for Detroit.
It’s not just that Grant went against a decades-long diaspora, moving from Denver to Detroit. It’s that he did it to join a clearly inferior team that’s nowhere close to contending in the meaningful way the Nuggets did just two months ago.
Nobody could’ve seen that coming. Not the Grading the Week staff. Not the Kroenkes. And certainly not Connelly.
Are the Nuggets better than they were a week ago? No. But luckily they’ve already taken care of the hard part: Acquiring a pair of superstars in Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray, and locking them up long-term.
Because of that, Connelly gets a pass.
Jeff Bridich — D+
We’ll give the Rockies general manager this much: At least he took questions from Colorado media this past week.
That qualifies as a step in the right direction for Bridich, who went full J.D. Salinger on us after Colorado put the finishing touches on a second straight disappointing season this September.
Sure, the media conference call was a hastily put-together affair, scheduled hours before the world checked out for the Thanksgiving holiday. And, yes, Bridich didn’t answer all of the questions posed to him, even without anyone bringing up the elephant in the room — namely, that star third baseman Nolan Arenado can barely stand the sight of him.
But, he did wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. So, plenty of holiday cheer from a 43-year-old executive who’s taken his fair share of shots from fans and media alike over the years. There’s something acutely bizarre about the man responsible for the first back-to-back playoff appearances in Rockies franchise history being as reviled as Bridich is.
It’s gonna take a while for us to figure that one out. Maybe we can talk about it on Christmas Eve?
CU Buffs — A
The CU Buffs received quite a bit of guff in this space for their inability to put together a pop-up Rocky Mountain Showdown when the opportunity arose a week ago.
But give credit where credit is due: To have a home game vs. San Diego State lined up and scheduled within hours of the scheduled visit to USC being canceled was a triumph in organization and ingenuity.
It may not be a Rocky Mountain Showdown, but it is Buffs football.
And given how hard that’s been to come by this fall, we’ll take whatever crumbs they can give us.
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