On Twitter today, Denver Stiffs released a tournament style bracket for fans to vote on the best Denver Nuggets player in franchise history. The goal: to engage Nuggets fans during our collective period of staying indoors by providing a fun activity.
The Nuggets have had several elite players in their franchise history, but only one can take home the title of Greatest Nugget ever.
32 players were included in the bracket, and each region will be defined by the top seeded player’s nickname. Here’s a closer look at each quadrant:
The Joker Region
Nikola Jokic has taken over the Nuggets franchise as their best and most important player today. He has had many signature moments, but his best may have been in the 2019 NBA playoffs, when he lifted the Nuggets over the San Antonio Spurs in the first round and nearly took the Nuggets to the Western Conference Finals in his first ever playoff run.
David Thompson is the second seed, and he was the first player in NBA franchise history to lead the Nuggets to a Conference Finals appearance. His 1977-78 season was one of the best in NBA history, averaging over 27 points per game and achieving First Team All-NBA status.
The Blade Region
Alex English leads this region, and he was a dominant force for the Nuggets during the 1980’s. The leading NBA scorer of the decade, English had many successful playoff runs, frequently facing off against Magic Johnson and the Showtime Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference playoff picture.
Lafayette “Fat” Lever was English’s running mate, and he made the triple-double popular before it was cool, as his 43 triple-doubles lead the Nuggets franchise. More than that though, Fat Lever was the “do everything” player all great teams need to be successful.
The Melo Region
Leading the Melo region is one of Denver’s leading scorers in franchise history. Carmelo Anthony helped bring the Nuggets back from the lowest points of the NBA standings. The Nuggets reached the playoffs every single season of Melo’s time with the team, and Anthony was the biggest reason why: his scoring proficiency and ability to get a tough bucket changed the Nuggets for the better.
The second seed is Jamal Murray, who has quickly risen to become one of Denver’s most proficient scorers and creators in franchise history. His 15.6 points per game rank 17th in franchise history among players to play over 5,000 minutes with the Nuggets. It was Murray’s shot in Game 7 against the Spurs last year that iced the game and put the Nuggets through to the second round.
The Mt. Mutumbo Region
In the Mt. Mutumbo region, Dikembe Mutumbo leads the bracket as the top seed. His signature moment in franchise history involved him laying on the floor, crying and holding a basketball in triumph over his head as the Nuggets became the first 8th seed in NBA history to beat a 1st seed in a playoff series. That, along with his countless blocks and signature moments as one of the best rim protectors in NBA history, place him in this spot.
The second seed is Chauncey Billups, Mr. Big Shot, who helped elevate a Nuggets team stuck in the first round. His first season with the franchise involved a deep playoff run, and Billups’ presence helped guide the Nuggets all the way to the Western Conference Finals. That 2008-09 team ultimately lost to the eventual NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers led by Kobe Bryant, but the Nuggets were good enough to win a championship because of Chauncey.