NBA / Apr 20, 2010 / 4:20 pm

My Top 10 favorite Nuggets of the past 25 years

Carmelo Anthony, Dime #53

I don’t smoke tweeds, but I grew up much closer to the greenery than just listening to The Chronic and Cypress Hill. So while 4/20 is more significant to me because the new season of “Deadliest Warrior” debuts tonight, I understand the importance of the stoner’s holiday.

According to some of my more laid-back colleagues, “nuggets” is a term commonly associated with 4/20. You can probably guess why. So with that, here are my 10 favorite Denver Nuggets of the past 25 years:

10. Tim Hardaway — I can’t confirm this, but I think the Nuggets hold the record for employing the most players since their NBA debut in 1976. Go through their archives, and you’ll find a bunch of notables who spent one year or less in Denver (another nod to 4/20: Lack of attention span/commitment). Hardaway would be the best representative of this for me. He only played 14 games with the Nuggets at the tail-end of his career, putting up 9.6 points and 5.5 assists, but he’s still Tim Bug.

9. Jalen Rose — One of my favorite college players of all-time spent the first two years of his pro career in Denver. This was of course after he broke out the greatest NBA Draft suit ever. Jalen’s influence is still seen in the League today: Ask any young player who grew up in Detroit or is left-handed, and they’ll probably tell you Jalen was one of their idols.

8. Antonio McDyess — Twice in his career McDyess cracked 20-and-10 averages, both times with Denver. Now that he’s a ground-bound role player shooting baseline jumpers, some might forget that McDyess was one of the most explosive power forwards to ever hit the League. Athletically, ‘Dyess might have been a notch below Shawn Kemp, but it wasn’t a big notch.

7. Alex English — You think it’s incredible how Kobe Bryant keeps getting buckets at his age? English had his best scoring campaign when he was 32 years old, dropping 29.8 points per game on 50 percent shooting in ’85-86. And he only attempted five three-pointers the entire season. Automatic buckets on the wing.

6. Nick Van Exel — The most ‘hood dude to ever come out of Kenosha, Wisconsin, “Nick the Quick” spent three and a half years in Denver, and along with McDyess carried the franchise through the lean post-Mutombo, pre-Carmelo era. The year before Van Exel got there, the Nuggets went 11-71. The year after he left, they went 17-65. So does that mean he was the lefty version of Sam Cassell?

5. Allen Iverson — Another short-term rental, A.I.’s tenure with the Nuggets has been somewhat underrated. Did he help the team get past the first round of the playoffs? No. But in his only full season with the team Iverson averaged 26.4 points per game, third in the League in scoring, and put up some of the best assist numbers of his career. In fact, that was really A.I.’s last great season.

4. Carmelo Anthony — The new Alex English. If ‘Melo is not the best pure scorer in the NBA today, he’s at least heavy in the discussion. And now between last year’s run to the Western Conference Finals and averaging 37.5 points in the first two playoff games this year, he’s becoming a bona fide postseason monster.

3. Chauncey Billups — It wasn’t until Chauncey’s second go-round with the Nuggets that I truly began to appreciate his game. Among the League’s current superstar PG’s Chauncey and Tony Parker are the only ones with championship rings and Finals MVP’s under their belt. The homegrown son of Denver was already a legend in his hometown before he lead this latest Nuggets resurgence.

2. Dikembe Mutombo — As a Sonics fan, the image of Mutombo laying on his back on our court holding the basketball after pulling off Denver’s historic 8-versus-1 playoff upset will always be burned in my memory. But the highlight reel doesn’t show how thoroughly Mutombo dominated that series.

1. Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf — On NBA Jam, my favorite team to use was the Nuggets, with Abdul-Rauf raining threes and Mutombo cleaning up the rare misses. In real-life, Mahmoud’s game, his back story, and his convictions were admirable to me growing up, and still are to this day. It’s too bad that to the mainstream public, his politics will always overshadow his talent.

Honorable mention: Darvin Ham, Reggie Williams, Michael Adams, Kenyon Martin, Fat Lever, Robert Pack

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  • Detroit Dave

    Cant forget LaPhonso Ellis, he was good for a weekly Throwdown on NBA Inside Stuff back in the 90’s.

  • karizmatic

    Awww Robert Pack should have made the main list. His dunk on Shawm Bradley is still one of the most gangsta ever. Melo is the second best pure scorer in the league behind Kobe, but if Kobe keeps shooting 6-19 he’ll pass him.

  • IG

    Fat Lever and Michael Adams deserve some mention.

  • UpNorth

    How are you going to leave off Lafayette Lever? Dude was almost averaging a triple-double at 6’3″! It’s a shame how nobody talks about him these days. One of the best to ever be forgotten.

    Doug Moe + Fat Lever + Alex English = Heaven

  • thedoc

    Chris Jackson – quickest pull up jumper ever!

  • http://huhwhatandwhere.com Coincidence UNO

    I have to throw in Rodney Rodgers & Kiki Vandeweghe as honorable mentions.

  • Lee

    As soon as I saw the title I thought “I bet they leave off Ellis and Pack” and you guys didn’t disappoint ….

  • sh!tfaced

    Its 4/20 and no love for Isaiah Rider?

  • Heckler

    how bad is this list when a BUM like darvin ham gets honorable mention?

    please STOP making these lists. its nothing more than a reeeeeeeeach for yourself

  • The Heckler’s Heckler


    Great, another moron who doesn’t understand the difference between “best” and “favorite.” Let me guess, Heckler: Your 5 “Favorite” players in the League are Kobe, LeBron, D-Wade, Dwight and Carmelo, right?

  • Chaos

    Man what could have been with McDyess…SMH

    mine would be

    1. Nick Van Exel
    2. Alex english
    3. Carmelo
    4. Robert Pack
    5. Abdul Rauf
    6. Deke
    7. Chauncy
    8. Fat Lever
    9. Michael Adams
    10. fill in

  • Sal Khalifa

    …put the tool to use, got dudes shakin like mahmoud abdul-rauf. Not turrets…

    -Joe Budden

  • LakeShow84

    i heard read recently Abdul-Rauf is STILL ballin in China.. dudes like the best player on his team lol

  • P-Dizzle

    No love for Sarunas Marcelinos! He, along with Drazen Petrovic, opened the door for all the Euro players. Plus he was a terrific player. Pure point!!

  • LB

    Oh Man, Nick The Quick was SO hood! Remember, he led a mutiny against his coach, Dan Issel while he was there. How gangsta is that? Not to mention his overall “I dont give a fuck, I’m shooting a 3 at the begining of the shot clock” demeanor. J.R. Smith is like Nick’s more athletic descendant. And no love for the Birdman? Anderson’s one of the most unique characters and one of the most inspiring stories in the league today.

  • Derik

    1. Keon Clark
    2. Chris Anderson
    3. Antonio McDyess
    4. LaPhonso Ellis
    5. Chris Jackson
    6. Melo
    7. Dale Ellis
    8. Brian Williams
    9. J.R. Smith
    10. A.I.

  • Big V

    Robert Pack FTW.

  • ballin

    JR Smith is definitely my favorite.

    crazy skills and an absolutely ridiculous amount of swagger to go along with it.

    he dude simply does NOT. GIVE. A. FUCK.

  • RC

    Mutombo and Mahmoud are definitely old school classic Nuggets.

    Current favorites are Melo and Birdman. Of course Chauncey also, I’m a fan since the good ol Piston days.

  • http://twitter.com/PoppiGEE POPPI GEE

    Come on now! BISON DELE gotta make it somewhere in there?

    Oh yea don’t forget Bryant Stith either.

  • vince

    lol…. no pack…no laphonso? and you do list exel and iverson? hardaway?!!?!?!

    dime better remove this post before too many people see it lol

  • Brickshooting J

    Van Exel babyyyy!!

  • K Dizzle

    When I see Fave Nuggets, all I think about is LaPhonso grabbin that dunk attempt with one hand and holdin the ball behind his back as he glared at the camera wonderin what ‘random dude who got his shot eaten up’ was thinkin

    and some dude named ‘David Thompson’ was doin s**t waaaaaaay ahead of his time. Never saw him play live, but watchin the legends prop him in interviews, I wish I got to

    Respect due