NBA 2k18 just announced they'll be putting All-Time teams in the game, featuring each team's greatest players. So who would make that team for the Denver Nuggets?
Site founder and writer emeritus Andrew Feinstein tackled this problem a half-decade ago and came up with his list of 12 Dream Team members for an All-Nuggets team. His choices:
Center: Dan Issel, Dikembe Mutombo
Power Forward: Antonio McDyess, LaPhonso Ellis
Small Forward: Alex English, Carmelo Anthony
Shooting Guard: David Thompson, T.R. Dunn
Point Guard: Fat Lever, Chauncey Billups
Swing Players: Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, Kiki Vandeweghe
Please go read that article - Feinstein put a lot of thought into it and he's more of an expert on pre-90s Nuggets than I will ever be.
What has changed in the five years since? Should Nene get another look, and can Danilo Gallinari displace Kiki Vandeweghe? Should Andre Miller or Ty Lawson be on the point guard list? But we'll start with the biggest question for me:
1) if a player can only belong to one All-Time team, is Dikembe Mutombo even a Nugget? Mt. Mutombo had more winshares for the Atlanta Hawks than he did for the Denver Nuggets (44 to 39). He made more All-Star teams there (4 to 3). The Hawks retired his jersey first. He scored more points, grabbled more rebounds and blocked more shots in a Denver uniform, and had the signature playoff moment with a #8 seed beating a #1 seed, but if there is a restriction which uniform would he don?
My heart says Denver, and honestly there's more competition for the Atlanta slots than for Denver's. Mutombo is 7th on Denver's All Time Winshares board, and 16th on Atlanta's. We'll call Mutombo a Denver All-Timer for this exercise.
By those same rules, though, Billups is a Piston and not a Nugget, so there's another point guard position up for grabs, bringing us to our second question:
2) Who takes Chauncey's place at backup PG? Ty Lawson is 8th in Winshares for the Nuggets with 38, Andre Miller is 11th with 33.3. They each played 400+ games with similar minutes. But Rauf was a combo guard before such things were appreciated and handled much of the offensive load for the Early-Nineties Nuggets. Since per this poll the fans want him there, they've got him - he gets promoted from the Last Two to the backup point.
Better Nuggets PG, all time— Zach Mikash (@ZachMikash) August 11, 2017
Ty Lawson's off-the-court idiocy may forever leave him as an under-rated contributor for Denver, but those are the breaks when you live the party life and continually put other lives in danger.
3) Kiki or The Rooster? Gallinari and Vandeweghe are right next to each other on the Winshare charts, and Gallo posted a higher VORP. Both men were combo forwards and indifferent defenders. Kiki was healthier but played just 4 years in Denver, though he scored 6829 in Denver Blue. Gallo played nearly identical minutes over 7+ seasons but scored almost 2000 fewer points. In the end, though, the best ability is still availability, and Kiki played in 293 of 328 possible games, missing just 4 in his final 3 years combined. Gallinari played in just 303 of 600+ regular season contests. I’m sticking with Vandeweghe despite my appreciation for Gallinari.
4) Who gets the 12th spot? Byron Beck has his number in the rafters, but it was for his ABA contributions so I'm leaving him off, as Feinstein did. There's a guard argument to be had amongst Nick Van Exel, Michael Adams, Lawson and Miller, but the Power Forward position is stocked with unhealthy players, neither of whom reached their healthy potential. Nene didn't either, but his Denver peak was still higher than he's normally given credit for. He is 4th all-time in Denver winshares with 51.1, with a higher WS/48 than Carmelo. Nene’s career with Denver was notable chiefly for him not being Amar'e Stoudemire, but his career VORP of 24.1 runs circles around Stoudemire’s 16.8.
Nene had his heart and his consistency questioned while he was here, and like all Denver power forwards health was not his strong suit, but I’m still sliding him into that 12th spot.
In a few years, though, if things go well someone is getting pushed out. Nikola Jokic will jump up these rankings and create all sorts of problems for 2k28 when they have to choose this squad the next time around. I eagerly await that dilemma. If Jamal Murray or Gary Harris can make it in the guard conversation, the next few years will have been way more fun than a video game.
Who should get the 12th spot for Denver’s All-Time Team?
This poll is closed
Nick Van Exel
Other (list below)