Somewhere between June 9th and June 18th, this NBA season will wrap up with one team fortunate enough to win their last game. With several decades of Finals history in the league’s annals, there are only seven teams who have never gotten to make that long, crappy crawl to a championship. The Denver Nuggets are one of those “lucky” seven.
With a playoff past that never has a happy ending, here are a few of the fun facts about the playoffs and your favorite team.
You can call them the streak: When the Denver Rockets entered the ABA in the 1967-68 season, they made the playoffs in their very first year. That would start a playoff run spanning a dozen seasons, their name change to the Nuggets, and their entry into the NBA (though two of those seasons were a one-game play-in that they lost, so with that grain of salt).
From there, it’s always been about the runs, with Denver missing the playoffs for two seasons before knocking out another nine in a row from 1981-1990. Three seasons off and two back in. Then an eight season drought followed by a decade’s worth of postseason runs that gets us to the last four seasons without even making it to May. A single season in or out? Not so far in several decades’ history.
The furthest we got: The Nuggets have made it to the Western Conference Finals three times in their history, with an ABA Finals* loss in the mix as well, but the 2008-09 squad led by Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, and coach George Karl led the team six games into the WCF by playing 16 postseason games that season (a Nuggets record), losing that sixth game on May 29th, the latest the team has ever played in a calendar year. One of two botched inbounds gets you to June, and both of them gets you a date with a beatable Orlando Magic squad.
*Though the Rockets made the ABA Finals, their last loss that season came on May 3rd, via a shorter ABA season. The 2008-09 Nuggets still played the furthest into May.
Friend or foe? Capping that very first Denver ABA season (67-68), the Rockets lost in five games in the first round to the New Orleans Buccaneers and their torrid small forward, a gentlemanly stiff by the name of Doug Moe. Moe averaged 24 points a game for the Bucs that year, wrapping the season by torturing the team he’d eventually call home.
Milestones: In their history, the Rockets/Nuggets have been in the playoffs nearly twice as many seasons as they’ve been out, with *33 trips to the postseason against 17 on the couch. We almost made that 34 and 16 this year. Poop.
*Huh… 33 plus 17 seems to add up to a nice tidy sum. Almost like a 50th anniversary. Fifty years of basketball in Denver. No big deal. It’s too bad the Nuggets don’t seem to have a Marketing department to catch these crazy things, as no one else out there seems to be tapping into nostalgia to sell anything. Koff.
Can you tell I miss being in the playoffs, Nuggets Nation? Do we start a new playoff run next year? How many seasons will this one last? Which series are piquing your interest the most this season?
Oh, and because when you Google “the runs” sometimes you remember why you’re still four years old at heart. I laughed my butt off. Figuratively. Thanks for wiping away all of today’s theme.
Assuming the Nuggets finally make it back to the playoffs next season, how many seasons will the next playoff run last?
This poll is closed
10 or more seasons