Very like some other workforce within the league, the Denver Nuggets have likewise discovered some success within the draft. Denver isn’t precisely a first-rate vacation spot at no cost brokers, so the draft serves as a key useful resource for the Nuggets when it comes to bringing in expertise to their workforce.
Denver has accomplished so in quite a lot of events, however as we speak we spotlight the 5 greatest gamers this workforce has ever acquired through the draft.
5. Jamal Murray
Seventh general decide within the 2016 NBA Draft.
Jamal Murray has been with the Nuggets for only a few years — at the least as of writing — however he has already established himself because the workforce’s star of the longer term.
Murray didn’t precisely have the very best of begins to his NBA profession, along with his rookie marketing campaign thought-about by most as pedestrian. His rise could not have been as fast as most would have anticipated from a excessive lottery decide (particularly contemplating how guys like Pascal Siakam, Malcolm Brogdon, and Domantas Sabonis had been all chosen beneath him within the draft), which is why even essentially the most trustworthy of Denver supporters had been not sure if Murray was well worth the $170 million five-year extension he signed in 2019.
It wasn’t lengthy, nevertheless, earlier than Murray proved that he was price each penny of that deal. His most memorable run got here in the course of the first spherical of the 2020 playoffs, when the 6-foot-Four combo guard dropped two 50-point performances towards the Utah Jazz in an epic seven-game sequence. He averaged 31.6 factors in that duel, as he led the Nuggets to a memorable sequence win towards the Jazz.
4. Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf
Third general decide within the 1990 NBA Draft.
In 1990, the Nuggets gambled on 6-foot-1 sophomore from LSU named Chris Jackson (it wasn’t till years later that he modified his title to Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf). Much like Murray, he had a comparatively sluggish begin to his profession. Nonetheless, he got here to life in his third 12 months with the Nuggets, as his great leap earned him Most Improved Participant of the 12 months honors that season.
Abdul-Rauf helped the Nuggets to back-to-back playoff appearances in 1994 and 1995, which turned out to be their solely two postseason journeys within the span of 13 lengthy years. For sure, Abdul-Rauf’s time with Denver can’t precisely be thought-about as their golden years, however nonetheless, he’s nonetheless extensively considered one of many prime level guards in franchise historical past.
3. Nikola Jokic
41st general decide within the 2014 NBA Draft.
Think about scooping up a future MVP candidate in the course of the second spherical. That’s not a nasty deal in any respect, proper? That’s precisely what the Nuggets did in 2014 after they plucked an obese 20-year-old, who only a few (if any) envisioned would finally emerge as among the best massive males within the league.
Sluggish begins have been a development on our record up to now, and Nikola Jokic was no completely different. The Serbian had a mediocre rookie marketing campaign, however confirmed huge enhancements as early as his second season. It is a testomony to the imaginative and prescient of Denver’s scouting workforce, most particularly within the case of Jokic.
It didn’t take lengthy earlier than the league took discover of Jokic’s abilities. His court docket imaginative and prescient makes him one of many biggest playmaking massive males we’ve ever seen. The 7-foot middle made his first look to the All-Star squad in 12 months 4, as he averaged 20.1 factors, 10.Eight rebounds, 7.Three assists, and 1.Four steals per contest.
The Jokic and Murray partnership served because the cornerstone for the franchise within the late-2010’s to the 2020’s.
2. Dikembe Mutombo
Fourth general decide within the 1991 NBA Draft.
Speaking about excellent massive males in Nuggets historical past, there’s few larger than the legendery Dikembe Mutombo. The Nuggets struck gold in 1991 after they drafted Mutombo fourth general.
Mutombo breaks the slow-start mould we’ve had on our record right here as we speak. As a matter of truth, the 7-foot-2 big made such an impression in his rookie 12 months that he was named an All-Star in his very first 12 months within the NBA.
This was succeeded by many extra profitable seasons because the Nuggets’ cornerstone massive man. Throughout his stint with Denver, Mutombo averaged 12.9 factors, 12.Three rebounds, 1.7 assists, and three.1 blocks. He led the leagues in rejections for 3 consecutive years.
Mutombo performed 5 seasons in Denver earlier than he determined to signal as a free agent with the Atlanta Hawks in 1996 (nonetheless must be one of many greatest regrets in franchise historical past). Nonetheless, regardless of his comparatively temporary stint with the Nuggets, Mutmobo holds the all-time franchise report for blocks (1,486), and is ranked third general in whole rebounds (4,811), behind two different greats in Byron Beck and Dan Issel.
1. Carmelo Anthony
Third general within the 2013 NBA Draft.
Carmelo Anthony was Denver’s unbridled franchise gamers for a few years, and as such, he might argue a case as being a Prime Three participant in franchise historical past. This simply makes him the Nuggets’ greatest draft decide of all time.
The 2013 draft class is without doubt one of the most talent-packed ever, with the likes of LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade, amongst others, all a part of this class with Anthony. Denver had plenty of assist from the Detroit Pistons on draft night time, as they handed on Melo on the second decide to go for Darko Milicic. The remainder, as they are saying, is historical past.
With Anthony on the helm, the Nuggets made their first postseason look in almost a decade — and this was in Melo’s rookie 12 months. The 6-foot-Eight ahead led the Nuggets to seven consecutive playoff runs, together with that memorable journey to the Western Convention Finals in 2009.
Melo could not have parted methods with the Nuggets in the very best of phrases in a mid-season commerce in 2011, however there isn’t a denying that he’s remains to be an all-time nice.
Anthony’s 13,970 profession factors with the Nuggets ranks third all-time in franchise historical past.
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