How much did you love the guys the Denver Nuggets finished last season with? Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Nikola Jokic, Mason Plumlee, Kenneth Faried, Gary Harris, Emmanuel Mudiay, Jameer Nelson, Will Barton, Roy Hibbert, Darrell Arthur, Malik Beasley, Mike Miller, Jamal Murray, and Juancho Hernangomez. I hope you loved all 15 a lot, because that’s EXACTLY WHO YOU’LL HAVE ALL OF NEXT SEASON AS WELL!!! Right? 

… right? 

No, and we all know better. Whether the end-of-season squad for your 2016-2017 Nuggets was your favorite ever to take the floor, or if they were only slightly more palatable to you than a can of warmed Alpo, the fifteen names above won’t be the same collective next season. Why am I so sure? In 50 seasons in Denver, the Nuggets (and Rockets) have never played the same squad top to bottom as the season before. It takes a bit of time to verify, but here’s the path I took if you’re interested in perusing.

With some limitations, I tried to look at the league’s history in a similar way, and was unable to find a single example of a team who finished two seasons with the same group of players. If you’ve got an example, Nuggets Nation, I’d love to see it. It’s as rare as a Pittsburgh steak. It all makes sense, doesn’t it? The size of teams, new entrants and exits, injuries, and a desire to improve a roster keep the jersey-stitchers busy throughout the season.  

Change hits each of us every day, sometimes in love taps and sometimes in roundhouse rights. It reminds me of a friend. A gent who started several of his columns with a meaningful piece of music that he built something special around, that often made you think about life and the Denver Nuggets all at once, or educated you about an arcane piece of Nuggets history that could lead you all the way to our present-day situation and leave you feeling a lot wiser about your favorite team than you’d been coming in. You’ll be missed, Jeffrey Morton. I look forward to what you’ll continue to share with Denver Nuggets and Colorado sports fans, but you’ll still echo around the halls of Denver Stiffs for years to come, just as Nate, Andy, and Colin do. It only makes me realize my time with all of the current and wonderful crop of writers is also finite, whether in days or years. A melancholy thought that helps me try to remember to appreciate every moment we have. 

It’s also a funny feeling to realize you’re no longer the rookie, but Mike Miller. (sorry, Mike. That was cheap. You were a far better-looking rookie than I.)

Change impacts you regularly as a Denver Nuggets fan. If you’ve been in the fold for more than a season, you probably had strong feelings about a change or two, such as the trade of Jusuf Nurkic. If you’ve been a Nuggets fan for more than five years, you can still feel the sting of losing Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups. A decade puts you right back around Allen Iverson territory. Just over another decade lands you back in losing-Dikembe-freaking-Mutombo-for-nothing territory. It’s less than a decade prior when you see Alex English retire, with Dan Issel preceding him by about the same amount. Another step back to David Thompson… Byron Beck… Great players all, with fresh faces coming in behind them with stories to tell. So many stars and stories left off that simple list. Sometimes those stories are epics (57-25), and sometimes they are tragedies (11-71).

Of the group of Nuggets players I named in this article, including the 15 who wrapped up last season, there are over 300 more who spent time on the court in a Denver uniform. The beginnings and endings of over 300 more stories. Incredible. And that was just the players, let alone coaches, front offices, and even owners. In looking, that change wasn’t just season to season, it was beginning to end. I was unable to find a Nuggets team who ended a season with the same roster they started with. There may be one, but I couldn’t find it. No matter what parts you loved or hated, the roster was usually as fluid as the Colorado weather. Wait a little while, it will be different soon.

Do you love these guys? Hate them? Either way, you don’t get them for long. It’s the truth of things, as the Denver Nuggets and Denver Stiffs both keep trying to grow along the way. It will be different again tomorrow. The times, they are a changin’. 

Come gather 'round people

Wherever you roam

And admit that the waters

Around you have grown

And accept it that soon

You'll be drenched to the bone

If your time to you

Is worth savin'

Then you better start swimmin'

Or you'll sink like a stone

For the times they are a-changin'

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