The Nuggets….a mix of David Thompson, Alex English, Dikembe Mutombo (and the 1994 team that knocked off the Sonics), and their offensive (and no defense) ways. This was never an elite team, but they did have their moments…
Note: Remember, this does not include ABA…so their two best teams are not in (but I will eventually do an ABA tourney…stay tuned…)
(1) 1988 Denver Nuggets (54-28)
This team gets a bye. It’s one of those incredible Nugget offensive team, led by English (25-5-5), and Fat Lever (19-8-8, and almost 3 steals). 15 points came from Jay Vincent, and they got double figures from Michael Adams, Danny Schayes (son of Dolph), and Blair Rasmussen.
(2) 2009 Denver Nuggets (54-28) vs. (35) 1998 Denver Nuggets (11-71)
After ditching AI for Billups (18-3-6), freeing up Melo for 23-7-3, he led them to the most successful season since 1988, which featured 15 points from JR Smith, and Nene (who doubled as their center, giving 8 boards a night). This may or may not be a successful team in the tourney…On one hand they have pretty good offense….not so much on the other end.
On the other hand…this is basically a nothing team…getting 15 points from Johnny Newman, and 14-7-3 from LaPhonso Ellis.
(3) 2010 Denver Nuggets (53-29) vs. (34) 2003 Denver Nuggets (17-65)
Led by the scoring escapades of Carmelo Anthony, putting up an incredible 28-7-3 with help from veteran guard Chauncey Billups (20-3-6). JR Smith gave 15-3-2, while the big men (Nene, and Kenyon Martin) gave 14-8, and 12-9 respectively.
Another nothing team (this one earned them Melo). This one had the spotlight shined on Juwan Howard (18-8-3…but no help elsewhere…).
(4) 1985 Denver Nuggets (52-30) vs. (33) 1991 Denver Nuggets (20-62)
This could be a deadly team. This variant of Denver has Alex English taking led, averaging 28-6-4. Calvin Natt also added in prolific scoring, swooping in 23-8-3 nightly. Dan Issel was in his last season…but not before adding in 13-5-2. Fat Lever did everything, amounting to 13-5-8, plus 2.5 steals. Wayne Cooper gave 12-8.
This is one of the best offensive teams ever (as most Nuggets teams are), and this one is bad at the other end though (as most Nuggets teams). But this one holds the distinction as the worst defensive team of all time, giving up over 130 points a game. 130! But they also had 119 a night on offense…but wow. This team had Michael Adams (27-4-11), Orlando Woolridge (25-7), a partial season of Walter Davis (19-3-2), Reggie Williams (16-5), among other double digit scorers…wow. And considering that the team they are playing is a great offensive team also….expect some high scores.
(5) 1977 Denver Nuggets (50-32) vs. (32) 1997 Denver Nuggets (21-61)
Here’s our first view of the Skywalker…David Thompson. In his first NBA season, he averaged 26-4-4 a night, and always had the scoring center Dan Issel (22-9) by his side. Perennial-All-Defense Bobby Jones had 15-8 this year, and they had 7-8 from an older Paul Silas.
This was a little better team than next year (the 11-71 train wreck). LaPhonso Ellis was pretty good, dishing up 22-7 in 55 games. Antonio McDyess had 18-7, and Dale Ellis had 17-4. In limited games, they got production from Bryant Stith (15-4-3) and Mark Jackson (10-5-12…and he was traded during the season. Not complaining…I would trade Mark Jackson if he was on my team ((wow I hate ESPN’s Van Gundy, Breen, and Jackson booth…))).
(6) 2008 Denver Nuggets (50-32) vs. (31) 1999 Denver Nuggets (14-36)
This could be a good team. They packed a duo scoring punch, with AI (26-3-7), and Melo (26-7-3….I actually hate the Melo name ((maybe because I’m not too fond of the person))…but it seems too formal to write Carmelo…no idea why). In addition, they had Marcus Camby ripping up the boards (13 a game!), and the defense (3.6 blocks!).
This team was led the All NBAer Antonio McDyess (21-11) and also featured Nick Van Excel (17-2-7), Chauncey Billups (14-2-4), and a monstrous Danny Fortson, ripping the boards for 11-12. Not an AWFUL team….
(7) 2011 Denver Nuggets (50-32) vs. (30) 1992 Denver Nuggets (24-58)
This season was filled with Melodrama…Basically, Melo (25-8) and Billups (17-3-5) got traded…and they got back Chandler (13-5), Raymond Felton (12-4-7), and Danilo Gallinari. Nene had 15-8. Not really much to say, this is a team moving to a new stage in its life…
This team had Reggie Williams dosing an 18-5-3 to its opponents, while he had Greg Anderson (12-12) grabbing the boards…of course, with some help from his friend Dikembe Mutombo (17-12, and 3 blocks). They also got double figures from 3 other players. This wasn’t a high scoring team, but they had rookie Dikembe Mutombo, so they looked like they were in some good shape here…
(8) 2005 Denver Nuggets (49-33) vs. (29) 2002 Denver Nuggets (27-55)
Is the 2000s the Golden (haha….get it…Golden? Gold Nuggets…haha…) age of the Nuggets? They seem to rank among the top mostly here….but I’d say the 80s (or even the short stretch when Thompson wasn’t on drugs). Golden or not, this team has some….troubles getting out of the first round (evidenced here….but 2010 they made the West Finals…). Melo had 21-6-3, and a cover on NBA Live 2005 (loved that game….but 04 was better ((even though Carter was on the cover))), and they also had Andre Miller (14-4-7), Kenyon Martin (16-7), and Marcus Camby (10-10) contributing.
This isn’t very golden…Nick Van Excel was (21-4-8)…until he was traded. Juwan Howard came over in that deal and put up 18-8…..and that’s about their season…
(9) 1978 Denver Nuggets (48-34) vs. (28) 1980 Denver Nuggets (30-52)
There’s a good David Thompson! He had 27-5-5 this year (this was his peak ((damn the drugs…this guy could have beaten the crap out of the Lakers ((actually, probably not…I’m just making an exaggerated point here)) and won a few titles. Now imagine they keep Issel, Thompson stays out of drugs, they get English, and Jones doesn’t get traded….wow…that is a real contender (so what is Issel and English are crappy defenders…you got Jones…). Imagine that team…). Issel had 21-10-4, and Bobby Jones had 15-9. (One note on Jones…doesn’t his name make him seem black…I always thought he was black until I saw a pic of the 1980s Sixers…maybe I’m just not smart about the whole race thing…I mean, I though Steve “Snapper” Jones was white till I read “Loose Balls” more closely ((you really should read this book if you haven’t. It’s all about the ABA, transcribed from interviews and whatnot. You should read it just to see more about Marvin Barnes…that section makes the whole book worth it))).
And there is bad Thompson. He played only 39 games (of 22-5-3 though), as Issel took the lead (24-9). And look, Thompson DID play with English! (Just a little bit ((and he was on his way out…or at least on that path))…but still)). He only played at the end of the year (21-9-3…9 boards!) after being traded for George McGinnis (16-10-5…and 4 turnovers…). Now if McGinnis hadn’t been traded here for Jones way back a few years ago…we have our team I was talking about while you skipped over it…This still isn’t a bad team in 1980.
(10) 1979 Denver Nuggets (47-35) vs. (27) 2000 Denver Nuggets (35-47)
This is a kinda healthy Thompson. He had 24-4-3 (a step down from last year), while Issel slowed to 17-9-3. They traded Bobby Jones for George McGinnis, who had 23-11-4, and almost 5 turnovers a game….Not as good as last year…But definitely better than next year.
2000 isn’t awful…they had McDyess leading for 19-9, but they traded their second leading scorer (Ron Mercer, 18 a game), along with Billups…for not much else. These guys also had the 16-4-9 of Nick Van Excel though, and 12-8 from Raef LaFrentz.
Part 2 will be coming soon...
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