To Nuggets, Employing This Guy Is No-Brainer


By Mike Hiserman, L.A. Times, 6/10/2003

If he hasn’t already, Carmelo Anthony will soon be meeting “the Brain Doctor.”

That’s not a disparaging shot at Anthony, who led Syracuse to the NCAA championship and is expected to be the Denver Nuggets’ choice as the third pick overall in the NBA draft.

It’s just that the Brain Doctor works for the Nuggets, and it’s his job to determine the future success of athletes.

The doc’s real name is Jonathan Niednagel, and new Boston Celtic boss Danny Ainge is among those who swear by him.

In his book “Bird Watching,” former Celtic star Larry Bird recalls listening to Ainge rave about Niednagel’s talent for evaluating potential based on factors such as facial expressions and brain waves.

Wrote Bird: “[Ainge] said, ‘Larry, you are an intense, high-personality guy. A lot of serial killers have the same profile as you.’ “

To which Bird replied, “Yeah, Danny, I ought to kill you for saying that.”

On target: Niednagel’s claim to fame, according to the Boston Globe, is that he strongly advised the San Diego Chargers against drafting Ryan Leaf, saying he believed the quarterback was headed for a meltdown.

Beat that for an accurate prognosis.

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