Led by head coach Mike Malone, the Nuggets current roster is composed of a rather young player base. Hats off to their General Manager, former NBA player Calvin Booth, and the owners Ann and Stan Kroenke for assembling this roster. Their oldest player is Paul Millsap who is 35, while the rest of their roster is younger than 30; besides 1 other player. Their core players are all under 26 and one of them is a player who many consider to be the best center in the NBA, Nikola Jokic. He may already be the NBA’s greatest passing big man of all-time, which is incredible at only the age of 25.
This postseason, the Nuggets saw their other star player become an elite right before their own eyes. Jamal Murray, 22, had a postseason in the NBA bubble for the ages, averaging 26.5 points per game and putting up 4 separate 40+ point scoring performances. Murray played with tremendous heart, leaving it all on the floor every single night. Alongside his partner in crime Jokic, Denver managed to make history, coming back from a 3-1 series deficit twice before losing to the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals. The resilience of this young roster would make you think twice about their age and experience; the future is extremely bright for this team.
Jerami Grant proved to be another bright piece in their rotation, he was huge down the stretch in their playoff series against the Lakers. The Nuggets definitely made the right decision to bring him in from Oklahoma City, they traded a 1st round draft pick for him this past offseason. Another huge addition to their rotation this past season was rookie Michael Porter Jr. He was actually drafted 2 years ago, but was unable to play at all until this season due to an injury so he was still considered a rookie. His versatility stems from being 6’10 and still being a capable ball handler as well as pull-up jump shooter. The Nuggets clearly have faith in their 22-year old, as he was playing in big time late-game moments during the Western Conference Finals.
Legends and Team History:
Perhaps the most famous Denver Nuggets legend is young Carmelo Anthony, they drafted the small forward back in 2003 with the 3rd pick in the draft and he spent 8 seasons with them. Carmelo was a superstar from the minute he set foot in the league, averaging 21 points per game his rookie year and 25 per game for his career as a Nugget.
An older legend and the best Nugget player of all-time is small forward Alex English, who played from 1976 to 1992 and was inducted to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1997. English holds the Nuggets franchise records in the following categories; games played, minutes played, field goals, offensive rebounds, assists, and points. These feats are a testament to his versatility as a player, it is incredibly difficult to own records for a franchise as a scorer, passer, and rebounder!
This past Denver team may be up for discussion as being the best Nuggets team of all-time now that we can look back on their season in hindsight, they went just as far in the playoffs as any other Nugget team has before. In terms of regular season record, the best Denver team of all-time is their 2012-13 team, who went 57-25. This team didn’t have a single 20+ point per game scorer but rather 6 players who averaged 10+ points per game. They qualified for the 3-seed in the playoffs but ended up being upset in the 1st round by the 6th seeded Golden State Warriors.
Unfortunately, the Denver Nuggets stands with the few NBA teams who have yet to win a championship. They have never even reached the NBA Finals, losing in all 4 of their Western Conference Finals appearances. In fact, the past 3 of those 4 times, including this year, the Lakers have been the team who beat them. Will next year be Denver’s year? Only time will tell.