DENVER — The Nuggets held practice Tuesday, and a Rosetta Stone commercial broke out. Joffrey Lauvergne, a rookie forward, celebrated a swished 3 with a French superlative. Patrick Mutombo, an assistant, confirmed he speaks seven languages.

Jusuf Nurkic claims he can’t get into American music, particularly Taylor Swift, and, 71 games into his first season in the States, he’s sticking with his Bosnian pop.
This is one thing the Nuggets are doing right. (Yes, there are a few.) The Nuggets have ramped up their international scouting, perhaps more than ever before. It’s a promising movement, one of the few good things ownership hasn’t messed up.
It starts with the scouting department, led by general manager Tim Connelly and assistant general manager Arturas Karnisovas. Toss in international scout Rafal Juc, who is based in Poland and nicknamed “WonderKid” by Nuggets staffers, and they form a hoops coalition with a mission to bring Action Ball back to Pepsi Center.
To succeed in the NBA, the Nuggets must be different and get lucky. That’s my lifelong theory, and I’m sticking to it. Being different could be taking full advantage of the altitude and playing at hyper-speed, or it could be taking a flier on a prospect they love, but some other teams view as a reach (see: Nurkic). Getting lucky could be the Pistons drafting Darko Milicic, allowing Carmelo Anthony to slide to the Nuggets.
Whenever the Nuggets have been super, one or both of those things happened: Different or lucky. In this case, being different is devoting an extraordinary amount of time to scouting international prospects and hoping they strike gold.
Scouting overseas isn’t new or unique to the Nuggets, of course, or the rest of the NBA. If you’re not doing it, you’re roughly two decades behind.
But the Nuggets have made Europe and beyond a top priority. The foreign influence starts near the top with Karnisovas and continues all the way to Ognjen Stojakovic, a Serbian video coordinator who also works in player development due to his coaching background and, in part, because he speaks the language and serves as a valuable liaison.
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