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#NuggetsGreats: Melo and Mutombo regional finals

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We’re getting down to the tough decisions

We’re rounding into the home stretch here on our #NuggetsGreats series where you the fans have been voting in an elimination style tournament to figure out who is the greatest Nugget of all time. We’re going to take care of the finals in two regions today as we prepare to crown a champion next week.

As a reminder, seeding for this bracket was voted on by the fans and the winners of each round are voted on here, on Twitter and on Instagram. First things first, here are the results from our polls on Thursday determining the winner of the other two regions.

Thursdays results: no surprises

We closed out the Joker and Blade regions on Thursday and no surprise Nikola “Joker” Jokic and Alex “The Blade” English we’re the winners. Despite my lobbying for the merits of David Thompson, Jokic more than doubled him up on votes, an indication the fanbase clearly expects Jokic to accomplish much bigger things than he already has with the team.

On The Blade side of things there wasn’t much of a contest. As expected English ran away with the votes against his former teammate Fat Lever. This isn’t in anyway a criticism of the GOAT Nuggets point guard, but English was the clear leader of the 80s era and so he’s naturally going to beat the clear number two on those teams.

Carmelo Anthony (1) vs Dan Issel (3)

A match of two icons in Denver and two players who should both have their jersey’s in the rafters when it’s all said and done. On the newer school side we have Carmelo Anthony, a scoring dynamo who brought the Nuggets to the playoffs every year of his career here, but not much else. Despite limited success in the playoffs, Melo still spearheaded one of the most successful eras in Nuggets history. Even more importantly, he did that following the worst era of franchise history and almost single handedly resurrected the franchise. If the Nuggets end up with Darko Milicic instead of Carmelo Anthony in that 2003 draft there’s no telling how long the franchise stays mired in ineptitude.

Melo’s opponent is a Hall of Famer and one of the greatest centers to ever play the game. Issel tops Melo in almost every statistical category while in Denver. He scored more points, he pulled down more rebounds, hell, he even had more steals and assists. Now some of this has to do with the fact that Issel played ten seasons in Denver to Melo’s seven and a half but it also has a lot to do with how dominant Issel was. He’s somewhat forgotten when talking about who is the best Nugget of all time because a lot of the damage he did was in the ABA and also he started his prime playing for the Kentucky Colonels. Still, for my money this isn’t a tough choice. Issel should win this matchup. That’s not a knock on Melo, thats a statement of how great Issel is.

Poll

Carmelo Anthony (1) or Dan Issel (3)?

This poll is closed

  • 39%
    Carmelo Anthony
    (67 votes)
  • 60%
    Dan Issel
    (101 votes)
168 votes total Vote Now

Dikembe Mutombo (1) vs Chauncey Billups (2)

In the Mutombo region we have two all time favorites facing off against each other. Chauncey Billups is the hometown kid. He went to High School in Denver, he went to college at CU, and he was the missing piece in the Melo era that nearly got the team to the finals (perhaps the missing piece was actually someone who could inbound the ball). Working against Billups is the tenure. His time with the Nuggets was bright (at least the second time around) but it was short as he spent just two and a half seasons here after returning to the team in the Allen Iverson trade. Any other player who made it this far in the bracket has a considerably longer tenure than Chauncey, but perhaps none are remembered as fondly.

Working in Chauncey’s favor in this matchup is his opponent didn’t have a long tenure either as Mutombo’s time in Denver was only five seasons long. Mutombo also didn’t have the same playoff success. Like Chauncey he made it to the postseason twice, but unlike Chauncey he could not push the team past the Western Conference semis. Also unlike Chauncey, he chose to leave. Still, perhaps the most iconic moment in Nuggets history is Deke holding the ball above his head in joy after Denver became the first 8 seed to upset a one seed. He is the most dominant defender in Nuggets history and the all time leader in blocks per game. Also, it’s not a Melo situation where he forced his way out, rather he was forced out by a front office who clearly didn’t value his services. This matchup might be the toughest call we’ve had yet.

Poll

Dikembe Mutombo (1) vs Chauncey Billups (2)?

This poll is closed

  • 63%
    Dikembe Mutombo
    (100 votes)
  • 36%
    Chauncey Billups
    (58 votes)
158 votes total Vote Now