By Court Zierk @courtzierk on August 29, 2014
This isn’t your average all-time starting lineup list. These won’t be the players you expect, but I ask that you think about how great this Denver Nuggets lineup would be. The mixture of raw athleticism, intimidating defense and pure scoring ability would match up with any other franchise’s best. They may not be the best 10 players in team history, but each player would bring something different and the culmination would be unstoppable.
Never forget that the finger wag originated in Denver. Mutombo was arguably one of the best defensive players to put on an NBA uniform. He was named the Defensive Player of the Year on four separate occasions, named to eight All-Star games, made six different All-Defensive Teams and three All-NBA Teams. Ironically, he is one of the most forgotten players when discussing the most underrated players of all time.
This will raise some eyebrows, but anyone who watched LaPhonso Ellis play in his prime should at least acknowledge the fact that he was incredible to watch. He burst onto the scene with two great seasons, before going down with a stress fracture in his knee that would progressively ruin his career. But over the course of four seasons, he was one of the best power forwards in the NBA and one of the most athletic Nuggets players of all time
Typically viewed as the best player to ever wear a Denver Nuggets uniform, English was the most dominant scorer in the NBA for a period of time in the mid 80s. He was never the strongest or fastest guy in the world, but his game was the epitome of smooth. He truly made scoring look effortless, and you would often look up at the scoreboard to see that he had dropped a quiet 30 points.
Thompson was well on his way to becoming one of the best players the league has ever seen before injuries and substance abuse ruined his career. In his prime, Thompson was the best shooting guard in the game and almost undoubtedly the most athletic. The legend about him being able to take a quarter off the top of the backboard still circulates today.
The most overlooked Denver Nuggets player in history, Lever was the most versatile point guard in the game for a short period during the late 80s. To this day, he has the sixth-most triple-doubles in NBA history. Standing only 6-foot-3, he had an uncanny ability to rebound the ball, and he was good for 18 points a night. Oh, and let’s not forget that he also dished out eight assists per game. Not too shabby.
Okay, this may be controversial as well, but anyone who has had the chance to watch J.R. Smith play knows that he could be the best player on the court at times. His problem was always consistency and attitude. But his ability to come into the game and light it up is approaching legendary status. You may not agree, but his recent assertion that he is on pace to be one of the greatest shooters of all time isn’t far off base.
Abdul-Rauf, much like J.R. Smith, could take over a game at times. Yes, his inconsistency could be maddening, but when he was on, he was the best pure shooter in the game. Seriously, just go watch some YouTube videos of this guy and you will understand. He was able to overcome his diminutive size, a neuropsychiatric disorder and plenty of adversity to make it to the NBA, and he was one of the most fun players to watch ever. Period.
Probably the most dynamic scorer in team history, Carmelo often makes the game look easy -- maybe too easy. This undoubtedly adds to people’s general perception that he doesn’t always give 100 percent effort. The fact is, Carmelo will go down as one of the purest scorers in NBA history, and his time in a Nuggets uniform led to some of the greatest years in team history.
While Camby played for the Nuggets, he was widely viewed as one of the best rebounders and shot blockers in the game. Winner of one Defensive Player of the Year awards, Camby was a dominant force in the paint despite his fragile frame. He was not a prolific scorer by any stretch of the imagination, but he certainly made his presence known on the court. He played six seasons for the Nuggets and ranks second on their all-time shot block list.
This certainly may be a bit premature, but Faried is well on his way to becoming one of the most beloved Nuggets of all time. The energy he brings to the court may be unmatched in team history, and he is proving that he is capable of being a 20 points, 10 rebounds type of player. Plus, and probably more importantly, his energy is infectious, which elevates the play of those surrounding him.
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