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#NuggetsGreats: The Mutumbo Region - Round 1

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Day four of the Denver Stiffs #NuggetsGreats bracket includes a lot of modern names in a bracket headlined by one of the NBA’s best defensive players of all time in Dikembe Mutumbo. Mutumbo started his Hall of Fame career with Denver, and he led them to their lone playoff berths during the 1990s.

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 yesterday’s voting.

Yesterday’s Results: Melo Region Round 1

The top three seeds in the Melo Region, Carmelo Anthony, Jamal Murray and Dan Issel waltzed to easy victories in their respective matchups. Things got a little tight in the four-five pairing of Antonio McDyess and Kenyon Martin, and, as of this posting, it’s tough to tell who’s going to be moving on to the round of 16.

Now, who’s on the docket for today:

Mutumbo Region Round 1

Dikembe Mutumbo (1) vs Arron Afflalo (8)

We’re starting this region off with a David vs Goliath style situation, and I don’t like David’s odds. Mutumbo averaged 12.9 points, 12.3 rebounds and 3.8 blocks during his five seasons in the Mile-High city. During his final three seasons with the team, he led the NBA in blocks, and he was a key piece in the two teams that made back-to-back trips to the playoffs. Throw in his impressive shooting accuracy, He’s staked his claim to the top spot for the region. In case you’re feeling a little trapped and down these days, just enjoy Mutumbo treating the NBA like a little brother for a few minutes.

On the other side of this matchup, you have Arron Afflalo. It took him a couple of years to get his footing under him in Denver, but, during that third season, we finally got to see the sweet-shooting guard that he could be. His shooting fluctuated year-to-year, but he finished his career with a 38.6 percent mark from 3-point range. Also, in that third season, he gave the team a perfect complement to Ty Lawson, who preferred to do his work inside. Afflalo has his work cut out for him in this matchup.

Poll

Dikembe Mutumbo (1) vs Arron Afflalo (8)

This poll is closed

  • 96%
    Dikembe Mutumbo
    (180 votes)
  • 3%
    Arron Afflalo
    (7 votes)
187 votes total Vote Now

Kiki Vandeweghe (4) vs Gary Harris (5)

This matchup, I could easily see it going either way for a few reasons. Kiki Vandeweghe, at his peak, was significantly better than Gary Harris has been in any of his five seasons with the Nuggets, but you also have to look at the recency bias of it. Kiki played just four seasons with Denver, but he also averaged over 23 points per game during those four seasons. He shot 54.1 percent during that stint with the team, which is just incredible efficiency.

On the other side, Harris embodies what Denver has been looking to build. He’s a tough hard-nosed player that’s always willing to bust his ass when he’s on the floor. That doesn’t always translate to elite levels of production with career averages of 12.1 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.1 assists. Harris could get the recency bias in the vote, or that could work against him with his down play over the last couple of years.

Poll

Kiki Vandeweghe (4) vs Gary Harris (5)

This poll is closed

  • 77%
    Kiki Vandeweghe
    (151 votes)
  • 22%
    Gary Harris
    (44 votes)
195 votes total Vote Now

Danilo Gallinari (3) vs Will Barton (6)

This is my personal favorite matchup from this bracket. After being traded from the New York Knicks in the Carmelo Anthony trade, Danilo Gallinari steadily developed into the Nuggets’ best player, when he was on the floor. He likely would have been a much higher seed if he had been able to stay healthy. He was a stretch four that was tasked with playing small forward, and he just couldn’t keep himself on the floor. He averaged 16.2 points per game, and he shot 36.6 percent from downtown. This Nuggets’ franchise was looking for the next player to transition to after losing Anthony. If Gallo had stayed healthy, he would have been the guy.

Across from Gallinari, we have Will Barton, who went from being a perennial benchwarmer with the Portland Trail Blazers to an every-night starter with Denver. He’s consistently improved every season, outside of 2018-19 where he was hampered by an injury, and he’s become Denver’s second or third best player depending on who you talk to. Will “The Thrill” Barton has endeared himself to the city of Denver, and he could end up pulling off the upset in this one if the votes go his way.

Poll

Danilo Gallinari (3) vs Will Barton (6)

This poll is closed

  • 74%
    Danilo Gallinari
    (143 votes)
  • 25%
    Will Barton
    (50 votes)
193 votes total Vote Now

Chauncey Billups (2) vs Kenneth Faried (7)

These are two very opposite candles. One, burned very briefly, but it was very bright. That was Chauncey Billups. He was with Denver briefly once, and he returned to play alongside Carmelo Anthony en route to the Western Conference Finals. Mr. Big Shot was called that because he could be consistently counted on to hit those key buckets at the end of games. For his Denver career, he averaged over 16 points per game to go with 5.3 assists, and he shot 39.9 percent from 3-point range. The guy was a marksman. If they don’t run into a Los Angeles Lakers team with a prime Kobe Bryant, the guy may have gotten himself another ring too.

The challenger is none other than the Manimal. Kenneth Faried was the true face of the franchise for a long stretch. He was the face for years following the departure of Carmelo, and he showed up to work every night. He was never going to give up on a rebound, and he was going to throw down some tenacious dunks. I don’t expect him to pull off the upset in this one, but he was one of the most fun players to watch out of this entire bracket.

Poll

Chauncey Billups (2) vs Kenneth Faried (7)

This poll is closed

  • 86%
    Chauncey Billups
    (170 votes)
  • 13%
    Kenneth Faried
    (27 votes)
197 votes total Vote Now